this is the 255th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Let It Bleed by Ian Rankin, St. Martin’s / Minotaur 1998 mass market paperback, mystery novel, Detective Inspector Rebus #7
Perhaps not forgotten, or even seldom read, less than a decade old, but some readers may be unfamiliar with the author or series, so this is for them, the seventh novel in the Detective Inspector Rebus series, set in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In this one, the theme seems to be suicide. The book opens with an exciting car chase which ends with a horrific accident, then, as Rebus watches, a double suicide. Before he can expunge the picture from his mind another suicide occurs, and this is just as meaningless…or is it?
Ex-con “”Wee Shug”” McAnally shotguns himself as local ward councilor Tom Gillespie watches in horror. Rebus believes that McAnally chose his witness carefully, but when political higher-ups pressure Rebus to lay off, he is given an involuntary week off “vacation”.
Rebus lives to work (and, perhaps, drink) so he continues on, following hunches with covert help from two sympathetic colleagues. It appears there are odd goings-on in some new development plans for “”Silicon Glen” (Edinburgh’s computer industry) and the suicides, or at least one of them, may be connected. With pressure from above and big money at stake, Rebus ducks his head and soldiers on.
Before this, I had only read the first book in the series, Knots and Crosses, and that several years ago, so I had to re-aquaint myself with Rebus. Rebus is a hard character to like; he’s smart but not kind, savvy but selfish with his emotions and he usually puts himself first in any business or personal interaction. He often seems blind to the realities of a situation. There were times when I thought Rebus, you idiot! but it didn’t stop me from turning the pages. Only the ending seemed a bit off to me, either not what the character would really have done, or come by a little too easily, but that would be for the reader to decide. Worth reading.