The Naming Of The Dead – Ian Rankin

Umpteenth Rebus novel The Naming Of The Dead sees Ian Rankin ramping up the mixing of truth and fiction to a new level. A decade a go when he decided that his new novel (Black & Blue) was going to feature the Bible John at the centre he not only began to get called things like the Scottish James Ellroy (by Ellroy himself) but he seemed to kick his writing up a gear and open the throttle right up (for want of some other driving metaphors). But, can he take it too far? Possibly.

There seems to have been a pattern to his books recently. They have a consistent pendulum swing from brilliant, this man one the greatest detective writer the UK’s thrown up to brilliant, this man is probably the best detective writer working in the UK today. So ok, the low swing is still miles above his contemporaries (and, many that aren’t). And, this one falls very much into that category. Personally, I can’;t help thinking that trying to shoehorn, crowbar and other such devices so much of the week of the G8 meetting and Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh in has left the plot and, more importantly, characterisation. There are elements in here of near parody in the doings of Rebus and his nemesis Big Ger Cafferty. Touching on pantomime villain at worst and faust analogy at best. A tad clumsily disappointing.

Still completely compelling and worth anyone’s time. And, there’s one bit that’s still making me giggle at the sheer audacity.


Written by Tony Kiernan

14 March 2007 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Books

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