Cover image for Dead souls : an Inspector Rebus novel
Dead souls : an Inspector Rebus novel
Rankin, Ian.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 1999.
Physical Description:
406 pages ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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"Rebus doesn't quite feel like himself these days. His friend and colleague Jack Morton has died; his daughter is in a wheelchair since she was hit by a car that was meant for him; he's drinking again and doesn't feel good about it. Having gone through so much, he is unsure how to keep going." "The last thing he needs right now is, a test of his abilities as a detective, but that's exactly what he gets. Rebus is assigned to look after the convicted murderer Cary Oakes, who's just been deported back to Edinburgh from the U.S. Oakes is a cruel and conniving man, and he begins to play with Rebus' life. On top of that Rebus has a personal crusade against a pedophile assigned to live near a playground, a cop's suicide that may have far-reaching implications, and a high-school sweetheart whose teenage son is missing. Rebus is stuck."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Author Notes

Ian Rankin lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons.

Born in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982. He is the author of the much translated, bestselling Inspector Rebus Series whose first Rebus novel was published in 1987.

Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America's celebrated Edgar Award for 'Resurrection Men'. He has also been shortlisted for the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the USA, and won Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis.

Rankin is a contributor to BBC2's 'Newsnight Review' and also presented his own TV series, 'Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts'. He recently received the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to literature.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

"Something's gone bad inside you." Edinburgh copper John Rebus might once have laughed at such a melodramatic statement, especially about himself, but this time he's forced to take stock. Ever since the death of his mentor, Rebus has been drifting from cynicism to nihilism, and now he may have hit bottom: his patented outbursts seem more gratuitous than heroic; his single-mindedness on the job has become more obsessive and mean-spirited. And the unsavory smorgasbord of cases on his plate only intensifies his personal crisis: the seeming suicide of a friend and fellow copper; the disappearance of his high-school sweetheart's son; and the appearance in Edinburgh of a serial killer deported from the U.S. As the missing-person investigation brings to the fore unresolved issues from Rebus' past ("dialogues of the left-unsaid"), the serial killer begins to play mind games of his own with the coppers who follow him, especially Rebus. Traditionally, the reader sees the hero of a crime novel as the force for order in a chaotic world; even in the contemporary British procedural, where the copper-heroes are often overwhelmed by the chaos around them, we identify with their browbeaten refusal to abandon ship. Remarkably, Rankin ups the ante here by finding in his hero's soul traces of the same gangrene that eats away at society. We care about him not as a hero but as a victim, infected by the diseases he seeks to treat. Not everyone will want to follow the crime novel where Rankin dares to take it, but for those who do, the journey will be unforgettable. --Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

Edinburgh's Det. Insp. John Rebus is beset by troubles from the past and the present in the loose and rangy 11th installment (after The Hanging Garden) of Rankin's popular (and, in England, bestselling) series. At the outset, Rebus, who's been drinking too much, endures frequent visitations from his recently deceased comrade-in-arms, Jack Morton, and suffers helplessly as his daughter struggles to recover from a hit-and-run accident that's left her paralyzed. Rebus's troubles are soon reflected in the old city around him: violent grassroots vigilantism breaks out in a housing project when Rebus informs the press that a convicted child molester is living in one of the flats; Cary Oakes, a serial killer just released from a U.S. prison, returns to Edinburgh; a rising star in the police department dies in an apparent suicide. In addition, as Rebus testifies in a high-profile case of sexual abuse of children, two old school friends ask him to search for their missing son. And as the cop pursues each of these cases, Oakes draws him into a sadistic game of cat-and-mouse. While the many plot lines pull the narrative in disparate directions, the whole is held together by Rankin's drum-tight characterization of Rebus as a man deeply shaken in his convictions, but unwilling to fall apart. Author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Scottish literature has recently enjoyed a renaissance with the emergence of such exciting writers as Irvine Welsh and James Kelman. They are joined on the mystery front by Rankin, an Edgar-nominated author of a series of complex police procedurals featuring Edinburgh detective John Rebus. Here, Rebus, still struggling to make sense of the suicide of a close friend and fellow officer, is keeping tabs on a recently released pedophile living in a housing project. At the same time, he has to track a convicted serial killer deported from the States and find the missing son of his high school sweetheart. As usual, Rankin combines several complicated plot lines, memorable characters, a touch of mordant Gaelic wit, and a gritty Edinburgh setting to create a dense read that starts slowly but rewards patient readers with a compelling and haunting d‚nouement. Strongly recommended for all collections.ÄWilda Williams, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



FROM this height, the sleeping city seems like a child's construc­tion, a model which has refused to be constrained by imagi­nation. The volcanic plug might be black Plasticine, the castle balanced solidly atop it a skewed rendition of crenellated building bricks. The orange street lamps are crumpled toffee-wrappers glued to lollipop sticks. Out in the Forth, the faint bulbs from pocket torches illuminate toy boats resting on black crêpe paper. In this universe, the jagged spires of the Old Town would be angled matchsticks, Princes Street Gardens a Fuzzy-Felt board. Cardboard boxes for the tenements, doors and windows painstakingly detailed with coloured pens. Drinking straws could become guttering and downpipes, and with a .ne blade--maybe a scalpel--those doors could be made to open. But peering inside . . . peering inside would destroy the effect. Peering inside would change everything. He shoves his hands in his pockets. The wind is stropping his ears. He can pretend it is a child's breath, but the reality chides him. I am the last cold wind you'll feel. He takes a step forward, peers over the edge and into darkness. Arthur's Seat crouches behind him, humped and silent as though offended by his presence, coiled to pounce. He tells himself it is papier-mâché. He smooths his hands over strips of newsprint, not reading the stories, then realises he is stroking the air and with­draws his hands, laughing guiltily. Somewhere behind him, he hears a voice. In the past, he'd climbed up here in daylight. Years back, it would have been with a lover maybe, climbing hand in hand, see­ing the city spread out like a promise. Then later, with his wife and child, stopping at the summit to take photos, making sure no one went too close to the edge. Father and husband, he would tuck his chin into his collar, seeing Edinburgh in shades of grey, but getting it into perspective, having risen above it with his family. Digesting the whole city with a slow sweep of his head, he would feel that all problems were containable. But now, in darkness, he knows better. He knows that life is a trap, that the jaws eventually spring shut on anyone foolish enough to think they could cheat their way to a victory. A police car blares in the distance, but it's not coming for him. A black coach is waiting for him at the foot of Salisbury Crags. Its headless driver is becoming impatient. The horses tremble and whinny. Their .anks will lather on the ride home. "Salisbury Crag" has become rhyming slang in the city. It means skag, heroin. "Morningside Speed" is cocaine. A snort of coke just now would do him the world of good, but wouldn't be enough. Arthur's Seat could be made of the stuff: in the scheme of things, it wouldn't matter a damn. There is a .gure behind him in the darkness, drawing nearer. He half-turns to confront it, then quickly looks away, suddenly fearful of meeting the face. He begins to say something. "I know you'll .nd it hard to believe, but I've . . ." He never .nishes the sentence. Because now he's sailing out across the city, jacket . ying up over his head, smothering a . nal, heartfelt cry. As his stomach surges and voids, he wonders if there really is a coachman waiting for him. And feels his heart burst open with the knowledge that he'll never see his daughter again, in this world or any other. Excerpted from Dead Souls by Ian Rankin. Copyright (c) 2000 by Ian Rankin. Published in March 2010 by St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher. Excerpted from Dead Souls by Ian Rankin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.