Rebus is the star of the show, as you'd expect, though not in the eyes of several of the other characters, and his accomplice in detective discovery is again Siobhan Clarke, who more than once frets that she'd becoming too much like her mentor, for better or worse. Like Rebus, she finds it hard to leave well alone, or to work anything like the normal 9-5 hours. Her parents have a big part to play in the story too, being hippies from way back, people who want to protest at what the G8 are doing. Big Ger Cafferty returns as well, adding to the mix, stirring up trouble wherever he can, and there is a wide range of other characters, good, bad and devious. This is a classic Rankin, in which he uses his skill to paint a detailed picture of a city in siege while at the same time giving us a superb detective story. And better still, the murderer is someone who appears throughout the story but doesn't seem to be in the least likely to be a suspect until late in the book. This is in marked contrast to the most recent Rebus story, where the murderer seemed to be invisible for most of the time.
I listened to what I thought was almost all of the book, got up the next day intending to listen to the rest - about an hour and half's worth - came to the end of that and found that the book wasn't even half finished. We had a copy on the shelves that I'd never got round to reading - we also had the rest of the audio book on the laptop as it turned out, but it was in another different folder. So I was swamped for choice.
|Scottish actor, Tom Cotcher|
Watchmen is one of Rankin's one-off stories. As far as I know the characters don't appear in any other book. It's a curious piece about a kind of behind-the-scenes department that's dealing with espionage and such, but the characters in the story seem as much intent on double-crossing their colleagues as attending to their proper business. It's set in both London and Ireland, and the main character is as unlike Rebus as you can imagine. A desk-job man, essentially, but forced out into the field, and forced to find courage and initiative he wasn't always aware he had. He does share with Rebus a certain amount of lack of respect for authority, and a difficulty with his marriage and his student son (though he fares better than Rebus in both these areas), but otherwise he's his own man.