Review by Jim McCarthy
This reviewer has previously admitted to an addiction to legal and police procedural fiction. Ian Rankin’s franchise of novels, taking place in Scotland and centering upon the irascible, unpredictable detective John Rebus, present a world of outlaw behavior and assorted bad actors deserving of justice. Rebus, himself a puzzle more profound than his name, pursues his trade often outside the bounds of legal guardrails. In this latest iteration in the series, the detective has slowed a step or two and, although officially retired, continues to dog criminals while volunteering assistance to his comrades.
Embroiled in a type of love-hate relationship with a kingpin of a local crime syndicate, “Big Ger” Cafferty, Rebus appears ambivalent about bringing him to justice, since Cafferty often plots to eliminate competitors to the advantage of the police and the detective protagonist. The relationship and tension between the two play out in the background and sometimes in the foreground.
One is never certain what may lie ahead for Rebus, as the franchise promises to continue, but In a House of Lies hints about Brexit and Irish criminals and offers some possibilities for the future. Interested readers should sample one or more of Rankin’s previous works about Rebus the puzzler.