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A Question of Blood
Inspector John Rebus Series #14
Ian Rankin
Read by James Macpherson

Hachette Audio
2/24/2015 / ISBN 9781478958819
Detective / Scotland / Contemporary

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks


In Memoriam, St Leonard’s CID - A Question of Blood

A Question of Blood begins with Rankin reading the introduction. He reminds us that Rebus’ world is written in a real city, in real time. When Edinburgh and Scotland changes, so does Rebus’ world. After he got word that St Leonard’s no longer has a CID, he decided A Question of Blood would be the last of his books to be set there.

The story opens with Siobhan visiting Rebus in hospital. His hands are bandaged. He’s taken sick leave and Siobhan is the only one who knows he is in the hospital. Siobhan is feeling tense due to an internal inquiry involving her. DCI Temple wants to discuss Siobhan’s stalker, the one that died in a kitchen fire. Just the first chapters are enough to keep the pages turning. There are way too many questions and not enough answers. Has Rebus finally gone too far? When a shooting at a Private school in South Queensferry, north of Edinburgh, takes place, Siobhan wishes she could help with the case. There are three dead, including the shooter, and one injured. The shooter is ex-army and a business man. The survivor’s father is a member of the Scottish parliament and one of the victims is the son of a judge. Siobhan wonders what effect the shooting will have with gun lobbyists and current gun laws. DI Hogan is put in charge of the shooting, but when it gets political, he calls in Rebus. Siobhan joins him as driver and note taker. Once they arrive at Queensferry, Rebus stuns Siobhan with some information about the third victim. It gives fans another insight into Rebus’ personal life and has Rebus reminiscing. The case draws the attention of the Army, has Rebus dealing with a couple of lowlifes, and Siobhan thinking about airplanes and flying.

Rankin offers plenty of twists and drags out the suspense as he delivers one revelation at a time. The duo storylines take the whole book to unravel, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. The storyline is mostly interaction and investigation with some action at the end.

And just when we think it’s all over….
The Epilogue happens…
Oh Rebus….

The audio version I’m reviewing is a recent release and a return to number fourteen in the series; there have been five new titles since. I read the book format eleven years ago, which made this listen a memorable throw back – listening to Rebus’ and Siobhan’s commitment to solving a crime, no matter what, Rebus living on the edge then and now, Siobhan putting her job and her loyalty to Rebus first.

The narrator is the always familiar James Macpherson. The various Scottish accents roll off his tongue and bring the many characters to life, especially the shady ones. He breathes an added arrogance into Rebus’s character and provides a tone of common sense for Siobhan Clarke, especially when she’s Rebus’ voice of reason. I couldn’t help but smile at those moments.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Resurrection Men #13 [book] [audio]
Question of Blood #14 [book] [audio]
Naming of the Dead #16 [audio] [book]
Exit Music #17 [audio]
Saints of the Shadow Bible #19 [audio]
Standing in Another Man's Grave #20 [audio]
The Beat Goes On [audio] (short stories)
Impossible Dead [book] (Malcom Fox #2)
Rather Be the Devil #21 [audio]


Reviewed 2015