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DI John Rebus takes on the establishment, terrorists, headline tragedies and the aftermath of his brother’s death.

When political nabobs from global hot spots descend on Edinburgh for a well-publicized conference, John Rebus is sent packing. An iconoclastic police officer is not needed to guard the dignitaries, thanks very much. But when Labour MP Ben Webster, right-hand man to the Minister of International Development, falls to his death from the castle battlements on the eve of the conference, Rebus is called to look into the matter. Commander Steelforth, in charge of G8 security, tries to stifle him, insisting that Webster’s death was a suicide, but Rebus disagrees. In untangling the matter, he lands smack in the bailiwick of his nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty. Wily though Cafferty may be, Rebus outplays him. Sadly, DS Siobhan Clarke is less wary, and in exchange for information about goings-on at Clootie Well that tie into other sordid murders, she puts herself in Cafferty’s debt. Rebus must fend off important industrialists and banquet tables full of politicos (including Councillor Gareth Tench, who’s keen to keep certain secrets hidden, and himself alive). And he must deal with them while terrorists are bombing the London underground stations and bus lines.

The world would be better off if Rebus (Fleshmarket Alley, 2005, etc.) attended the peace summits instead of getting bogged down with the usual posturing officeholders and violent anarchists.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 0-316-05757-6
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2007

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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