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Return of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus Is Imminent!
STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN’S GRAVE Is First Rebus Novel In Five Years
It’s been five years since Ian Rankin wrote a Rebus novel. The character’s farewell in Exit Music left the door open for his return, and for many, I’m sure that the five year wait has been excruciating.
It might be hard to comprehend what a phenomenon the character is. During my time working on a report on the Scottish Parliamentary system, I visited Edinburgh, the character’s home, in 2003. Buses were completely covered with advertisements for The Falls or whatever the Rankin book of that year was and, as I fell in love with the place, it was actually kind of difficult not to imagine it as Rebus’ town.
I enjoyed the first seven or eight of the Rebus novels, but Rankin wrote them seemingly faster than I could read them and I lost the race. Doors Open (Rankin’s first stand-alone since Rebus’ creation) did little for me and his Vertigo Crime Hellblazer graphic novel was unsatisfying (to be kind).
It’s interesting to follow a writer’s work once he/she leaves behind the character that has, for better or worse, defined their career. Andrew Vachss, for example, gave his Burke a graceful exit, but I personally struggled with the last half-dozen and his subsequent work has had more rant than plot. Joe Lansdale seems to be able to leave Hap and Leonard alone and pick them up with relative ease, although the latter books in that particular series, good as they are, aren’t quite up to those before the first significant break in their production (Captains Outrageous).
One has to wonder, however, if this is a case of Rankin throwing in the towel, a savvy marketing ploy or, most likely, the product of a writer’s desire to scratch a particularly nagging itch. As Rankin’s press release tells us (from New Zealand’s Scoop), the writer and his character had “unfinished business.”
Standing In Another Man’s Grave is released this November. According to the PR, the author plans a NZ tour. Another Australian visit would also seem likely. Rankin’s a friendly man and a wonderfully supportive writer – Crime Factory founder David Honeybone was shocked when Rankin helped to hand out copies of the magazine’s debut issue to his 2000 Melbourne audience. I don’t know if I’ll read Rebus’ return, but hundreds of thousands will, and for that alone, I’m happy to have Inspector Rebus and his creator back with us.