Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Rather Be the Devil
John Rebus #21
Ian Rankin
Read by James Macpherson

Hachette Audio
January 31, 2017/ ISBN 1478914025
Detective / Scotland / Suspense / Audiobook - Unabridged

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks 


I’d rather be the devil; Than I would be my woman’s man
--- Rather Be the Devil by John Martyn (singer / song writer)

In book 21, Rebus is reluctantly retired. Rebus and his love interest Deborah Quant are celebrating one week without a cigarette. Rebus is suffering CPOD, but he tells Deborah its bronchitis. Tonight, they’re dining at Galvin Brasserie Deluxe, which has Rebus reminiscing about an old murder case that happened in the hotel. Maris Turquand, a banker’s wife, strangled in room 316 at what was once the Caledonian Hotel. At the time Rebus held the case until he was removed for insubordination. Once home, Rebus finds the Turquand case in his private stash of old cases. Then he hunts down mobster Big Ger McCafferty. It’s an odd relationship between those two. The discussion is crime boss Darryl Christie. Later, Rebus’ old partner Siobhan brings him the Turquand files from the department’s cold storage. No one seems surprised that Rebus is far from retirement and working a case.

Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is called to the Royal Infirmary after Gail McKie’s son Darryl Christie was assaulted. Sometime ago, Gail’s daughter Annette was murdered and Darryl was suspected of hiring an inmate to kill her murderer. Was the attack on Darryl a professional hit or an old enemy? Big Ger McCafferty is the name given by the mother.

Malcom Fox is commuting 40 miles a day work with the Major Crime Unit. A position he was given by higher ups after he was nearly killed. The move to Major Crime has affected his relationship with DI Clarke. Oddly, the two are put on the Darryl Christie case, but it doesn’t start off well after Clarke’s boss finds out about the Christie case from Fox and not his own DI.

Dueling Crime Bosses can leave violence and bodies in their wake. Let’s hope it not one our favorite characters. Readers/listeners will follow along with bated breath as the Rebus, Fox, and Clarke each deal with their own twists and turns. This isn’t the first time Rankin’s used multiple crime bosses in a storyline. However, this time, Rebus, Clarke and Fox are taking different sides, more or less. Who will be left standing? Gangsters, Edinburgh, Scotland, a complicated case and snappy dialogue keep the audience successfully entertained.

Scottish actor James Macpherson once again narrates the audio version. I can’t imagine a Rebus audio without Macpherson. The two are one and the same to me.

Reviews of other titles in this series

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

Reviewed 2017