Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Rank Reveal

Ian, Ian, Ian. You were so close to a five-star rating.

In The Black Book, the fifth novel-length installment in your Inspector Rebus mystery series, you've manufactured a rebellious hero with a worthy crime to solve, eight or nine threads of misdirection, and enough stops in the pub to outdo Masterpiece Mysteries' Inspector Morse. Your story has winningly wise-ass sidekicks, frustratingly bureaucratic bosses, and belligerently boastful bad guys. You continue to describe the Edinburgh milieu colorfully with each new Inspector Rebus episode, with most of the colors being browns and grays. Your well-paced plot kept me turning pages through an entire four-day visit to Schenectady (but that's another story).

And then, Mr. Rankin, you do this: you have a hell-raising suspect disclose the final reveal in the form of a narrative, eight-page diary entry -- eight pages! -- written as fully and articulately as you yourself write. Why, it reads as though it could have been an early plot outline that you'd prepared for your editor, or even a short story worthy of inclusion in The Hanging Game.

Such a pity. You were so close. Oh, Ian.


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