Ian Rankin is a Scottish crime writer, most famous for his creation: Inspector John Rebus. I have read two of his books: A Question of Blood, and Black and Blue. The latter is a significant book as it is often seen as the novel in which Rebus comes of age. First published in 1997, it went on to win the Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of that year and is considered a masterpiece in the Tartan Noir genre.
In Black and Blue, Rankin, examines the pressures of being in the police force and the very thin line that divides law and crime. It is easy, as Rebus discovers, to cross the line. Protectors of law themselves misuse power and authority vested in them and become law breakers; in the process debasing the very laws they are their to uphold.
Intertwining the issues of guilt, crime, and punishment, the novel shows Inspector Rebus juggling four cases. A serial killer is on the round, one of his victims being a woman, Rebus was familiar with. The serial-killer has been given the moniker, ‘Johny Bible’ by the media as his methods are similar to ‘Bible John’, an infamous killer who had spread his terror-network some two decades back and who might still be alive. Coupled with this is an old case that has come back to haunt Rebus. As a young officer, he had helped a senior officer, apprehend a criminal. However, there have always been whispers and rumours that the person caught and convicted was innocent. Now with both the senior officer and the convict having committed suicide, Rebus is left to face a barrage of question. To top it all, there is an internal inquiry going on led by a man whom Rebus has accused of taking bribes from criminals.
I am not really fond of new police-procedurals. My favourite crime-reads are those of murders in sleepy villages or on trains, ships etc. But nevertheless this was an interesting look at the grit and dirt of crime in cities.
First Line: ‘Tell me again, why you killed them.’
Title: Black and Blue
Author: Ian Rankin
Publication Details: London: Orion, 2005.
First Published: 1997
The book is easily available. I borrowed it from the Morning College Library [ 823 R167B C.1]
Submitted for the Merely Mystery Challenge [Police Procedural]
Also submitted for the following challenges: A-Z (Titles), AZRC, British Books, Chunkster, Color-Coded, Find the Cover, Mystery and Suspense
Entry for letter I in the Crime Fiction Alphabet Meme.