Showing posts with label John Rebus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Rebus. Show all posts

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Strip Jack: Ian Rankin: Book Review

Name of the Novel: Strip Jack
Name of Author: Ian Rankin
Publisher: Orion Books Ltd.
Published in : 1992
Pages: 290
ISBN: 0-75287-723-2
Amazon link : Strip Jack by Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

"But no, it was worse than that. Much worse. It was an ordinary bed room, albeit with red lightbulbs in its several lamps.  And in an ordinary bed lay an ordinary enough looking woman, her elbow pressed into the pillow, head resting at an angle on her clenched fist.  And on that bed, dressed and staring at the floor, sat someone Rebus recognized; the Member of Parliament for north and south Esk" ……  (Page 7)


Strip jack is an intense novel written by Ian Rankin. It is fourth novel in the John Rebus series. Like previous plots, this story is also set up in Edinburgh.

Story starts with a raid on a brothel where a local Member of Parliament, Gregor Jack, caught or found in the premises of brothel.  When much-loved politician Gregor Jack is discovered in a midnight raid on a discreet brothel, a surprising number of journalists are on hand--a situation that endangers Jack's political future.  

Rebus has a sympathetic view towards Jack. In his view, he was victim of a conspiracy which is designed to strip him naked in the society without any power and image. In the mean time, a dead body of a woman found in the river and a suspect, William Glass, under police suspicion and Rebus under pressure from his superiors to accept a homeless derelict as the killer of a woman found in the river. There are too many unanswered questions for Rebus. Like B why was he at that particular brothel at that particular time? And why was the press on the scene practically at the same time as the police? Rebus is an experienced cop who knows the  ways of the politicians and the criminals. For him, there are too many questions and too few answers.

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Ian Rankin's Strip Jack

Jack ‘s personal life with his wife Elizabeth is in sticky situation after his brothel episode. Rebus wants to meet her to know about her reactions and mental state but she is found dead.  Her body is soon pulled from a nearby river, a fatality resembling the recent murder of another, unidentified woman. A drunk who brags of the first killing gives a false address and vanishes north of the city. From here, a saga of investigations unravels where many sub plots are intricately woven with main plot. Rebus comes to know about ‘The Pack’ which is group of young friends of Jack and Elizabeth. Each character is now settled in the society in different manners, be it a movie star, transporter or a mental patient. Meanwhile Rebus, trying to trace a cache of valuable stolen books, finds himself talking again to the late Elizabeth's coterie of party friends.

Rankin has been able to create a realistic world in which his weary protagonist operates. He tackles his cases while involved in the intricacies of the day-to-day life: pints, coffee and hangovers, stumbling romance with patience (his girlfriend), wet weather, damp clothes, arrogant superiors and indifferent subordinates. “After all of his stubbornness and failure of judgments, Rebus closes in on the satisfying solution. Then, the idea of a quick bath appealed. He looked into the kitchen first, and saw that Mrs. Wilkie was busy at the stove, humming to herself. So he headed for the bathroom. There was no lock on the door. Or rather, there was a lock, but half of it was hanging loose” … (page 123)


Since it is my first meeting with John Rebus, my views may contrasting to the others.  Beginning of the story is very interesting.  The first meeting between MP Jack and Rebus was able to generate interest for the future. But after that when rebus investigate about the stolen books or antique books, story become somewhat slow. The story doesn't begin with the murder and it happens in due course of the plot and till then, you only had Rebus wandering, casually talking to the MP who caught, was investigating in a case regarding stolen books and all these also gave time for the author to bring out the character of Patience Aitken.

 The plot was amazing in the begining, moving across several places in Scotland, several characters with different occupation, different background and personality but somehow all of them were connected to the case in some way or the other but at the same time I felt that the number of characters were too many which made the reader hard to hold grip on the events and may  lose track of it. It had nearly everything in it, an enthusiastic, slave-driving police detective with dull superiors and a troubled relationship, a politician in trouble with his associates trying their best to protect him and of course, a very good mystery supported with interesting investigations carried out by the police. But in the end, as a reader I am surprised of the outcome of the result. I can confess that after reading Daniel Silva’s international political and spy drama, Rebus adventures are far more rooted to ground and realistic. 

If you are interested in realistic portrayals and pinch of suspense, than you can read the John Rebus adventures created by Ian Rankin.

My Rating : ★★★/★★★★★ (3/5)   

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Back Cover Strip Jack

Friday, June 5, 2020

Ian Rankin : Fictional World of John Rebus

 Ian Rankin : Fictional World of John Rebus

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Ian Rankin
Ian James Rankin is famous Scottish crime writer, who is born on 28 April, 1960. He is best known for his famous character, Inspector John Rebus. The story and plot of John Rebus novels are set up in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied literature and graduated from university of Edinburgh. He spent some years in London and France during his establishing careers as novelist.

As happens to most of the novelists, his ambition was to establish himself as mainstream writer, not to be a crime writer. He consider his first novels like Knots and crosses and Hide and Seek as main stream books. His later novels, in which Inspector John Rebus is central character, are major contributions to Scottish Crime Fiction. Later on his novels were adapted as TV series in which actor John Hannah and Ken Stott played as Rebus.

John Rebus
John Hannah as John Rebus
Ken Stott as John Rebus

In Rebus novels, Ian Rankin plot involves murders, un-natural deaths and mysterious disappearances where Rebus takes the centre stage investigations. In his novels, Edinburgh is present as a character along with stark realities of corruption, poverty and organized crime.

Apart from crime, Ian Rankin provides struggle of Rebus with internal politics of police department, his tendency to bend the rules and ignorance of his superior. His personal and emotional life is also intricately woven which runs parallel to his crime investigations. In his life, apart from his daughter, Samantha Rebus, five women are involved, i.e., , Rhona ( his separated-wife), Patience Aitkin (ex girlfriend), Gill Templer (his boss), Jean Burchill ( lady friend and friend of Gill Templer) and Deborah Quant (pathologist).

    Novels of Ian Rankin:

  1. Knots and Crosses (1987)
  2. Hide and Seek (1991)
  3. Tooth and Nail (1992)
  4. Strip Jack (1992)
  5. The Black Book (1993)
  6. Mortal Causes (1994)
  7. Let it Bleed (1996)
  8. Black and BlueBlack and Blue (1997)
  9. The Hanging Garden (1998)
  10. Dead Souls (1999)
  11. Set in the Darkness (2000)
  12. The Falls (2001)
  13. The Ressurrection Man (2002)
  14. The Blood Hunt (2002)
  15. A Question of Blood (2003)
  16. The Bagger's Banquet (2003)
  17. Flesh Market Close (2004)
  18. The Flood (2005)
  19. The Naming of Dead (2006)
  20. Exit Music (2007)
  21. Doors Open (2009)
  22. A Good Hanging (2010)
  23. The Complaints (2010)
  24. The Watchman (2010)
  25. Standing in Another Man's Grave (2012)
  26. The Impossible Dead (2012)
  27. Saints of Shadow Bible (2013)
  28. The Beat Goes On -Short Stories (2014)
  29. Even Dogs in the Wild (2015)
  30. Rather Be the Devil (2016)
  31. In a House of Lies (2018)
  32. A song for the Dark Times (2020)
  33. West wind: The Classic lost Thriller
                 Collections of Ian Rankin:-

Ian Rankin

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