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WARNING, WHOPPING SPOILERS AHEAD. I write these pages as notes, records and reminders to myself of books I have read. You are welcome to peruse these reviews, but be warned that they will spoil your reading pleasure if you have not already read them.
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Resurrection Men   by Ian Rankin

Read: 2004-04-14 Reviewed: 2004-04-15
Re-read factor:
Whodunit set in the Scottish Police service. By far the best attribute of this book is the depiction of the characters: there are plenty of them and they are believeable down to the toes. Less good is the depiction of the backdrops, which are airless and of no spatial relation unless you know your way around Scotland very well.

Our hero is sent back to police school, ostensibly to learn how to behave but actually to fathom three others who are suspected of wrong doing and are put on the same course. The detective is taken off one case, and put on a closed case from his past, and ends up working both. Actually, he finds out that the others are on the course also for ostensible reasons; in reality they are measuring him up. The cases both involve the same collection of shady art dealers. To bring the suspects at the school out, the hero sets up a heist of drugs from a warehouse. In the event, the suspects do not take it, but one of the art dealers does. However, the poilce suspects do turn out to be guilty of their own crimes (murder, no less), and the hero does a dirty by having the dealer plant the drugs on the suspects, and letting the dealer go scott-free.

Things come to a head when the suspects realized they've been sussed. While one suspect is pushing a knife into the hero's belly (and that's about as dramatic as the prose gets), one of the other suspects has a change of heart and clobbers the other two to save the hero.

That final scene where the hero is being stabbed is totally unconvincing. The conclusion of the book is fairly good, but rather a lot of evidence turns up suddenly at the end and the final resolution, like the rest of the book, is a little contrived. I guess that's the nature of whodunnits (and probably the nature of real detective work, as well), and as far as they go this is a good read, with some progressive tension as the plot rises.

The book suffers a nagging distraction. The hero's sidekick is a woman who's name is Siobhan (pronounced shiv-ven); a big thing is made of this pronunciation, and every time the name comes up in the text it deflects the reader's concentration away from the plot.

The book must be ninety percent dialogue, which is brilliant but leaves out some background detail and atmosphere.

In conclusion, this is not my preferred genre, but it was entertaining (more so I would have thought for people who like soap operas) and I'd be happy to read another one of this author's works, at least.

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