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A Question of Blood
by Ian Rankin
ISBN 075285111X / 9780752851112 / 0-7528-5111-X
Publisher Orion Publishing Group Ltd.
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Sometimes crime affects you directly: in A Question of Blood Inspector John Rebus is caught up in two cases that are closer to home than he would like. He is under investigation for the burning alive of a minor psychopath who threatened his attractive young sergeant Siobhan Clarke; and the son of an estranged cousin has been murdered in a high-school shooting.
As always in Rankin's novels, Rebus's bad attitude to his superiors comes back to bite him: even though doctors testify that damage to his hands is a scalding from trying drunkenly to get into an over-hot bath, it is regarded as circumstantial evidence of his possible guilt. The high-school shooting looks at first sight like another ex-SAS crazy going wild--and here Rebus's own past as an SAS washout comes to haunt him--and the constant meddling of army investigators screams cover-up. In fact, though, this is one of those occasions on which Rebus's slightly paranoid preparedness to see connections everywhere pays off and he manages to solve both crimes and a lot of other unsuspected pieces of mayhem besides. Along the way, the book offers Rankin's usual intense commentary on embattled masculinity and what it means to be a Scot, and this excellent sequence's usual portrayal of an Edinburgh where modernity rubs up against time-worn slums and ancient privilege. --Roz Kaveney [via]