RARA-AVIS: Ian Rankin - The Falls

From: Robert Centor ( rcentor@yahoo.com)
Date: 20 Nov 2001

While in London 2 weeks ago, I picked up the newly released paperback of the Falls. It is out in hardcover here.


1. While it helps a bit to have read the previous novels, it does stand totally alone.

2. John Rebus remains a great character, many flaws of which he is aware. He consistently ignores authority (perhaps different from just not respecting authority), without regard to personal consequences.

3. Siobhan Clarke has become the major second character. Rankin focuses on her development and particularly Rebus' influence on her style. An interesting feature of her subplot revolves around how she and Ellen Wylie (two women investigators) interact with the new Chief - Rebus' former lover Gill Templar. Rankin does a nice job of painting the struggle that these women perceive striving for success in a male dominated profession.

4. The mystery is a nice one. There are at least 4 credible suspects, all of whom get proper exploration. As in most hardboiled stories, the denouement involves understanding why as much as understanding who.

5. The writing is delightful. Rankin now writes a longer novel (in contrast to some recent discussions on this list). However, it didn't feel long. The investigation has enough complexity, the story lines enough meat that the pages aren't filler.

6. I judge The Falls as Rankin's best yet. Impressively, his works remains free of formula, and he continues to explore and mature his characters. A wonderful read!

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