Ian Rankin Dead Souls is admittedly the first book I’ve read this year. Yes, I know that’s quite bad but this book was a bit of a slog to get through. Ian Rankins great prose allowed me enough stamina to finish it cover to cover though which I’m quite proud of. However, in all honesty, the plot of this book I found just slightly confusing. Usually if a writer’s style is disengaging It’ll put me off a book, but Ian Rankins Prose is so engaging and humorous he could literally write about drying paint and I would still read it. Dead Souls is the tenth Inspector Rebus Novel the follow up book after his most popular break through sensation Black and Blue. I think throughout reading this book I was perhaps guilty of comparing it to Black and Blue and it may have affected my enjoyment of it. As the annoying thing about great writers like Ian Rankin who write huge series is you always end up comparing their work to other work they have produced and sometimes not everything is as strong, yet individually it is compared to other writers.
The book centres around the theme of paedophilia which is a sensitive issue in itself and hard to enjoy reading about although I respect Ian Rankin as a writer for not shying away from these topics. The book starts off in the setting of a Zoo when Rebus spies Darren rough an old convicted paedophile he recognises. He then pursues Rough and it gets taken to court. In court Rebus is shown up as Rough has served his sentence and is no longer guilty so inspector rebus had no reason to chase him. Flaws like this prop up throughout the book as Rebus is worn down after a recent accident involving his daughter that left her paralysed. This makes him appear more vulnerable in this book. The book also involves the theme of Suicide and starts on an unsteady foot after the suicide of Jim Margolies a colleague of Inspector Rebuses In the police force. His suicide is out of the blue so the question runs throughout the book of wither it was suicide or murder. Darren Rough was also one of the last people to see Jim Stevens alive so we are very suspicious of Rough. Rough Is one of the main characters in the book. He has been brought into the local area Rebus Works in, in Edinburgh because of a case involving his own abuse that he went through as a child in care. This makes the reader have mixed feelings towards him and its interesting how Rankin always creates such controversial characters that are never easy for the reader to have black and white good/bad feelings towards. In turn making his characters appear more human and their actions have more shades of grey and be more realistic raising the question in the mind of the reader of can horrific crimes ever be justified? Darren rough is housed in a council flat near a kid’s playground and Rebus leaks this information to the press. Another slip we witness from Rebus. Residents in his housing block find out about Roughs identify and become angered. Knowing their fears over Darren Rough will be ignored by the authorities they take matters into their own hands and witch hunt Rough smashing his windows and smearing shit on his door and harbouring the desire to kill him. This again makes the reader have slight controversial sympathy towards Rough. Rebus then has to make up for his actions and allows Rough to stay in the safety of his flat. However not long after this Rough goes missing and is later found Murdered (Spoiler Alert!!)
Quite a few murders and suspicious Deaths Happen Throughout the book.
- Jim Margolies
- Darren Rough
- An old case of a girl (A niece of Alan Archibald)
Alan Archibald is another character who comes into the book, and is investigating the murder of his niece and suspects Carry Oaks of being the murder. Carry oaks is the main antagonist of the book and the one suspected of murdering Rough and Alan Archibald’s niece. (Note: A lot of the main dramatic scenes involving these characters happen in the last part of the book and we find out what happened to everyone so it really is worth holding on even if the middle of the book did dip a little.)
Another Dramatic part of the book happens when Rebus Is away in cardenden visiting an old girlfriend from school Janice. (Throughout the book, we get a few scenes of nostalgia over Rebuses old life this could perhaps be with him getting older) When he returns his house has been broken into and white paint written on his walls saying “his girl cop murdered oaks” this is unsettling as Rebuses partner patience was in the house at the time.
At the end of the book Oak ends up murdering Alan Archibald because he is investigating him. This is a foreseen tragedy as Rebus was there at the time as they had walked up to the hills where Alan Archibald’s niece was murdered believing oaks was going to give them information but instead leads the into a trap. This is another flaw of Rebus as usually he would have prevented this, but it makes him seem like a flesh and blood human who makes mistakes. In the last two chapters of the book, the story is resolved. There is another battle of between oaks and Rebus and oaks gets caught in the end although he gets very close to murdering Rebus. We also find out the Suicide of Jim Margolise had to do with incest as his father had caused the suicide of his sister as a child due to abusing her, and his father had also abused Rough. Jim Margolis was so terrified of having the desire to abuse his own daughter that he killed himself. Oaks also was one of the ones who abused rough and is the one who murders him as he becomes scared that he is going to say something as they are investigating his childhood abuse. Over all it’s quite a good book and I think I grasped most of it if I didn’t I think that may be because I’m a weak reader and not because of the writer himself. I would suggest giving it a go though and definitely Highly recommend Ian Rankins books. (Although it wasn’t as good as Black and Blue in my opinion but still very good)
“Men liked to have their little secrets and tell their little lies. They liked to have a sense of illicit.”
“It was all shit Jim, remember that till the day you die”
“That’s how it is these days Rebus no one gives a shit”