*I received this book from the publisher Little, Brown in exchange for an honest review.
Rebus is back on the force after it increases the retirement age in Saints of the Shadow Bible. Though he had to come back as a lowly DS under his former protege Siobhan, now a DI herself, Rebus is eager to get back to the business of solving crime in a more legitimate capacity, having left Cold Cases by the wayside.
The pair’s newest case involves a car accident with a few fishy details. But Rebus’s attention is derailed by a meeting with his former team. At his first posting 30 years ago, Rebus was inducted into the Saints of the Shadow Bible, a group of men who did what they had to – legal or not – to get a collar. When Malcolm Fox of the Complaints (internal affairs) department comes calling, Rebus isn’t sure where he stands. Did his buddies let a murderer go to cover up another crime? Or is this just a case of new procedure versus old?
Rebus is never one to sit idly by and allow investigations to go smoothly, and this novel is no different. What his superiors fail to understand, however, is Rebus’s intent. He has no will to cover up any crime, past or present. In fact, it is his intense need to uncover the truth that so often gets him into trouble as he blasts past procedure.
In Saints of the Shadow Bible, Rankin pulls his past few novels together. When he first introduced Malcolm Fox, I eyed him warily, but here, Rankin pulls Rebus, Clarke (Siobhan) and Fox together brilliantly. Specifically, Fox, I think, begins to grudgingly respect Rebus and his methods, even if he would never approve them. Siobhan, on the other hand, is both helped and hurt by Rebus. She’s a smart detective in her own right, and much of that is owed to Rebus, but she also knows she must tread the line carefully, particularly as a woman in the department.
In some ways, watching Rebus in Saints of the Shadow Bible is watching a man deftly and determinedly setting a path of self destruction. There are crucial moments when instead of doing something just because he thinks it’s right, Rebus seems to make a misstep to intentionally make his situation worse, doggedly holding on to his old ways. He’s obviously facing his mortality – literally and figuratively – both after seeing his former boss in bad health and seeing his methods and means of policing fall by the wayside. Yet it only makes me more eager to see what Rankin does with his character next. Though part of me is sad that I can feel the end coming, I also love waiting to see how or if Rebus will evolve as the world around him does. Which is, of course, why I love this series so much: Rebus is no static character, doomed by his maker into an eternal pattern of solving crime, and watching him interact with other solid characters continues to be a true pleasure.
Saints of the Shadow Bible is out today; add it to your Goodreads shelf.