Saturday, February 19, 2005

Weekend Reading

Didn't read much this week since Peter was home. I'm excited about this weekend though. Peter brought me the UK hard-cover of Ian Rankin's latest book. Rankin is my absolute all-time favorite author so getting his new book qualifies as a personal holiday for me. In fact, I had to hold off on starting it until the weekend because I knew that once started, I'd have hard time doing anything else.

Fleshmarket Close (American title is Fleshmarket Alley) is loaded with plots and sub-plots for Detective Inspector John Rebus and Dectective Sergent Siobhan Clarke to unravel.

Rankin is a Scottish writer and the bulk of his books' action takes place in Edinburgh. Our first trip to Edinburgh was driven entirely by my desire to check out the locations in my favorite books. When Peter asked me what I wanted to do in Edinburgh, my answer was "have a pint with Rebus." Failing that, I hunted down a place that did walking tours and e-mailed the guy who ran them. I told him that I understood that they did tours for a minimum of 6 people and I offered to buy 6 tickets to be able to take the tour. Unfortunately, it was the holiday season and both guides were out of town when we were there. Or so the man said.

What makes the Rebus books so incredible? I think it boils down to characters and locations. The characters are incredibly complex, flawed, human individuals. They're familiar types - the ground-down alcoholic cop, the woman battling the glass ceiling, the sleazy and shady suspects - that somehow manage to transcend stereotypes and become fully realized individuals capable of reaching out to readers. The settings are vividly described and Rankin does a good job providing a sense of the history that hangs over Edinburgh.

If you're looking to give the Rebus books a try, I'd recommend starting in the middle with something like Black and Blue, Black Book, or Mortal Causes. They're a good warm-up for his later books, which are (IMHO :)) highly developed works of art : The Falls, Resurrection Men, and A Question of Blood. The early books are interesting in an evolutionary sense, as they show how Rankin got started and hit his stride. They're typical mysteries, some more sensational than others, and are worth a read for fans of the genre or the author.


At 20 February 2005 at 01:15, Blogger Career Guy said...

Actually, I am responding to 'Teen Spirit', but wanted to make sure you saw this. I remember your Aussie scrunch spray! The bathroom floor was coated with layer of that sticky stuff. I do remember the smell--kind of sweet, like you. Me, I like the smell of diesel fumes. Reminds me of when I worked in the shop, and reminds me how glad I am not to be there anymore.

At 21 February 2005 at 21:02, Blogger Stacey said...


Found you on your Dad's blog. My Dad would be absolutely thrilled if I would finally commit to the marathon training I never seem to be able to stick with. I'm good for about 6 weeks, then I fade out, go back to bad habits and then start up again when my jeans start getting too tight. My Dad has run his 20th Chicago marathon this year (he qualified for Boston once too).

Best wishes in your writing career...hope that publisher picks up your novel and says...yes, this is IT!!!!!

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