Summary and book reviews of Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin

Resurrection Men

An Inspector Rebus Novel

By Ian Rankin

Resurrection Men
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  • Hardcover: Feb 2003,
    448 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2004,
    528 pages.

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Book Summary

Inspector John Rebus has done it again. A few days into a murder inquiry following the brutal death of an Edinburgh art dealer, Rebus blows up at his superior, DCS Gill Templer, and is sent into exile: the remote Scottish Police College, where Rebus must undergo "retraining." And he is not alone. At the college, he joins a group of cops equally troubled by authority-the so-called Resurrection Men, granted one last chance to redeem themselves and save their careers. To learn the merits of teamwork, they're supposed to investigate a long-unsolved case.

But there are those on the team who have their own secrets-secrets connected to the very case they've been given-and they'll stop at nothing to protect them. As if that's not enough, the Scottish Crime Squad has a favor to ask of Rebus. They think they've found someone who can help them nail a notorious gangster who has controlled the Edinburgh criminal underground for years. All they need is someone to act as go-between-and they've decided on Rebus, whether he likes it or not.

Back in Edinburgh, with only a bumbling rookie at her side instead of her longtime mentor Rebus, newly promoted Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke works the case of the murdered art dealer, a case that takes a surprising turn toward the very gangster Rebus is pursuing. Soon Siobhan and Rebus find themselves in the thick of a scandal with conspirators in every corner of Scotland, men who have no problem spilling blood to get what they want.

Chapter 1

"Then why are you here?"

"Depends what you mean," Rebus said.

"Mean?" The woman frowned behind her glasses.

"Mean by 'here,' " he explained. "Here in this room? Here in this career? Here on the planet?"

She smiled. Her name was Andrea Thomson. She wasn't a doctor — she'd made that clear at their first meeting. Nor was she a "shrink" or a "therapist." "Career Analysis" was what it had said on Rebus's daily sheet.

2:30-3:15: Career Analysis, Rm 3.16.

With Ms. Thomson. Which had become Andrea at the moment of introduction. Which was yesterday, Tuesday. A "get to know" session, she'd called it.

She was in her late thirties, short and large-hipped. Her hair was a thick mop of blond with some darker streaks showing through. Her teeth were slightly oversized. She was self-employed, didn't work for the police full-time.

"Do any of us?" Rebus had asked yesterday. She'd looked a bit puzzled. "I mean, do any of us work full-time . . . that's why ...

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Media Reviews
People Magazine

For anyone who likes a mystery with literary flair and without a sermon, this is an eminently satisfying read.

Publishers Weekly

This isn't one of Rankin's top efforts, but even coasting, he leaves most police procedurals at the gate.

Booklist - Bill Ott

This installment in a truly groundbreaking series is more a straightforward procedural, less an exploration into the heart of darkness, than some of its predecessors, but it's still A-level crime writing from one of the best in the business.

Library Journal - Wilda Williams

In his latest Inspector Rebus outing, Rankin (The Falls) demonstrates once again his mastery of intricate plotting and complex characterizations.... Rankin skillfully juggles all the plot lines, tying them together in a logical and satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews

Rankin keeps topping his own best work (A Good Hanging, 2002, etc.), this time by juicing up the plot with more twists than the Amalfi Drive, giving Siobhan more to do, and having Rebus revisit old graves and overlooked mistakes en route to a kind of resurrection.

London Independent

With the brilliant eye for character and place that have made him a major international bestseller, Ian Rankin delivers yet another page-turning novel of intricate suspense, an extraordinarily rich addition to crime literature.

The Times (London)

Quite apart from their excellence as detective novels, every one of [Rankin's novels] adds something interesting to our understanding of the social landscape of Edinburgh, which Rankin portrays with such subtlety and sensitivity.

Sunday Telegraph (UK)

As is usual with Rebus novels, the plot is so thick you could stand a spoon up in it. . . . Rankin's Rebus novels should be required reading for anyone whose knowledge of Edinburgh has been derived from visits to the Festival. . . . Rankin is still very much a Category A crime writer.

Time Out (UK)

This is Rankin at his best, and, boy, that's saying something.

Observer (UK)

Rankin is pretty much unrivaled at the vivid delineation of character. John Rebus, tormented, dogged, moral, his prickliness repelling those he most wants to attract, remains one of the great creations of modern mystery fiction. Resurrection Men is right up there with the best of this terrific series.

Daily Express

In the Rebus books Rankin has created an Edinburgh that is textured, vivid, plausible, perhaps even real. . . . Even viewed solely as a whodunit, Resurrection Men stands some distance above the competition. Rankin juggles three tense and fascinating, apparently unrelated cases, each of which for a lesser writer would be a book in itself, before late in the novel drawing them together in a clever, unexpected but utterly convincing denouement.

Daily Mail (UK)

As Ian Rankin and Inspector Rebus are regular visitors to the bestsellers list, I see no reason why Resurrection Men should not follow that well-trodden path. All the Rankin virtues are present-compulsive readability, sharp dialogue, the believable pettiness of the police procedural background and, looming over the book as ever, the formidable presence of the Jekyll-and-Hyde city of Edinburgh.

Scotland on Sunday

Rankin does a splendid job of interweaving these various plots, tying together the narrative threads in as delicate and accomplished a piece of knot-work as I have encountered in detective fiction. . . . Where Rankin really excels is in his use of dialogue. It is exemplary.

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