1 May 2010

Review: HIDE & SEEK, Ian Rankin

Orion Audiobooks, abridged, 3 hours 30 mins
Read by Bill Paterson
Book published in 1990

A junkie lies dead in an Edinburgh squat, spreadeagled, cross-like on the floor, between two burned-down candles, a five-pointed star daubed on the wall above. Just another dead addict - until John Rebus begins to chip away at the indifference, treachery, deceit and sleaze that lurks behind the facade of the Edinburgh familiar to tourists. Only Rebus seems to care about a death which looks more like a murder every day, about a seductive danger he can almost taste, appealing to the darkest corners of his mind . . .

Ian Rankin introduced us to John Rebus in KNOTS & CROSSES in 1987. In HIDE & SEEK he's recently been promoted to Detective Inspector.  He's still a bit of an unknown to the readers, but we are beginning to appreciate that he is willing to follow his nose, to take the dangerous path, and in HIDE & SEEK he does just that. To Rebus, the social status of the dead doesn't really matter. He just wants to get at the truth.

I don't usually read or listen to abridged books, but this was lent by a friend. Bill Paterson does an excellent job of portraying a variety of voices. I always ask myself with the abridged books, what it is that was left out. I suspect that in this case it was a considerable amount of descriptive text.
One of the nice features about this recording though was the considerable foreword by the author Ian Rankin in which he explained the struggle he had to begin publishing in his work, as well as some of the changes he had already made in the Rebus character by this, the second novel in the series.

My rating: 4.3

If you are new to the Rebus series here is a list of the titles to look for.

1. Knots and Crosses (1987)
2. Hide and Seek (1990)
3. Tooth and Nail (1992)
     aka Wolfman
4. Strip Jack (1992)
5. The Black Book (1993)
6. Mortal Causes (1994)
7. Let It Bleed (1995)
8. Black and Blue (1997)
9. The Hanging Garden (1998)
10. Dead Souls (1999)
11. Set in Darkness (2000)
12. The Falls (2001)
13. Resurrection Men (2002)
14. A Question of Blood (2003)
15. Fleshmarket Close (2004)
     aka Fleshmarket Alley
16. The Naming Of The Dead (2006)
17. Exit Music (2007)


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Nice review, as ever. I'm glad you didn't feel cheated by listening to the abridged version.

Kerrie said...

I did feel cheated in a way Margot. I suspect some of the stuff culled in the abridgement was the "thinking stuff" - you know how Rankin carefully places his plots in contemporary Edinburgh - there wasn't much of that there. There was not enough of the "brain dwelling" stuff. It was nearly all action/thriller

Bernadette in Australia said...

Once again I'll admit, at risk of being expelled from the crime fiction fraternity, to never having read a Rebus novel. And I'm never going to. I unfortunately came across the TV show before the books and hated it so much that when I tried to read one of the books I only got a few pages in - I had the horrid TV bloke in my head and he wouldn't get out.

I do have THE COMPLAINTS in my TBR pile though


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