NY: Little Brown, 2018.
Rankin’s detective novels featuring DI John Rebus of the Edinburgh CID are consistently well-written and entertaining and there are now about two dozen in the series. Rebus actually has been retired for a few years now, but he’s still a detective by his very nature, despite age and emphysema, and he keeps up with what’s happening in that side of his city that the tourists never see. And he never forgets anything.
So when an apparently abandoned car is discovered by some boys hidden in a pit in a wooded area, and has obviously been there for years, he hears about it almost as quickly as the active cops do. Especially when a body is found in the boot — with police-style handcuffs on its ankles. When he asks DI Siobhan Clarke, whom he trained and with whom he still has a close relationship, “Was it a red Volkswagen Polo?” she knows she’s going to have to bring him into the investigation.
Clarke had a run-in recently with ACU, Police Scotland’s Anti-Corruption Unit, and even though she was completely exonerated, two of its detectives in particular still have it in for her. Her immediate boss, DCI Sutherland, has a history with ACU, too. And DI Malcolm Fox, who was a member of the old “Complaints” division (ACU’s predecessor), also becomes part of the team, looking into the many ways in which the original missing-persons case was mishandled a dozen years before. Of course, Rebus was involved back then, but so were the two bully-boys from ACU when they were still in uniform. And you know where that’s going, right?
But Clarke is also having problems with a recent case of her own in which a young guy apparently murdered his girlfriend and is now in prison. His uncle doesn’t believe he’s guilty and has been harassing Clarke for not handling the case properly, so she finally agrees to take another look, prevailing on Rebus to dig through the files and double-check everything. And there’s an ACU connection there, too.
Both cases are nicely complicated and subtle and while they don’t actually merge, they overlap in certain ways that involve Morris Gerald Cafferty, the evil genius behind most of the organized crime in Edinburgh and Rebus’s enemy for decades — though they seem to have reached a sort of armed detente as both men have gotten older. It’s a terrific story and even though you know the Good Guys will eventually win (mostly), you’ll have a lot of fun watching them get there.