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Staying on top of two complex investigations is tough enough, but what really has Inspector John Rebus up the wall is staying on the wagon. Here’s Edinburgh about to be become the scene of an all-out gang war, and there’s Rebus, the born-again teetotaler, doing what he can to stop it. Which at first isn’t much. Nor are the local thugs getting his full attention, since a new case has him running around in unproductive circles (while thinking what a power of good a wee dram might do for his morale). Rebus is investigating one Joseph Lintz, who may or may not be Josef Linzstek—a notorious Nazi war criminal who, as an SS lieutenant in 1941, wiped out an entire French village of 700 men, women, and children. And such a benign, unassuming little man this Lintz seems to be. Suddenly, unexpectedly, it turns up that he has connections to Tommy Telford, local mob chieftain. And Tommy, in his turn, has begun to demonstrate connections of a distinctly multinational flavor. Before you can say drugs and “prossies,” Rebus’s patch is awash in entrepreneurial emissaries from the Yakuza and the Chechens (Japanese and Russian mafia). Add to all this the woe and worry of a hit-and-run that fells his beloved daughter. Accident? Or is it gangspeak for —back off, Rebus—? Once again, action that’s relentlessly slam-bang, plotting that’s labyrinthine. Rebus, a puzzle to himself and an enigma to everyone else—especially that array of interesting ladies who’ve been drawn to him over the course of nine outings (Black and Blue, 1997, etc.)—remains one of the most charismatic heroes in contemporary crime fiction.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-19278-9
Page count: 332pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1998

Kirkus Interview
Ian Rankin
August 11, 2015

Brilliant, irascible and frequently frustrating to both his friends and his long-suffering bosses, John Rebus has made the dark places of Edinburgh his home for over two decades. The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories collects all of Ian Rankin's Rebus short stories for the first time, including two never-before published tales written specifically for this collection. From his beginnings as a young Detective Constable in “Dead and Buried,” right up to his dramatic, but not quite final, retirement in “The Very Last Drop,” Rebus shines in these stories, confirming his status as one of crime fiction's most compelling, brilliant, and unforgettable characters. “Rankin’s canny cop is as gray and dour as his Edinburgh beat, but he’s in fine form in these clever, occasionally touching, and often wryly funny vignettes,” our reviewer writes; we talk to Rankin this week on Kirkus TV. View video >


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