Book Review – The Beat Goes On

by Ian Rankin (Orion) ISBN 9781409151562

The first Rebus novel was published in 1987. 20 have been published to date and the best-sellers have been translated into 22 languages.

I have read all of them and I think Ian Rankin is one of the best living crime writers. His creation, DI John Rebus, is a classic flawed hero. Driven to solve crimes, he has consistently frustrated a series of love interests, colleagues and long-suffering bosses against the backdrop of a brooding Edinburgh.

I enjoyed the 29 short stories in this collection, but I enjoyed his essay ‘Rankin on Rebus’ most of all. It reminded me of when I was lucky enough to interview him in Johannesburg in 2005.

Rankin talks about his own childhood, how he first wrote about the detective, how he discovered that he was really writing about Edinburgh and how he really got to know Rebus. He writes, “Rebus, too, is composed of words – millions of them – so you might think by now I’d have got to the heart of what makes him tick, but he continues to surprise me, which is perhaps only apt for a man whose name means ‘puzzle’.”

If you’re a Rebus fan or a crime fiction fan or a fan of good fiction, read ‘The Beat Goes On’.

Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 9th March 2015