Two seventeen-year-olds are killed by an ex-Army loner who has gone off the rails. As Detective Inspector John Rebus puts it, 'there's no mystery ...except the why'. But this question takes Rebus into the heart of a shattered community. Ex-Army himself, Rebus becomes fascinated by the killer, and finds he is not alone. Army investigators are on ...Read MoreTwo seventeen-year-olds are killed by an ex-Army loner who has gone off the rails. As Detective Inspector John Rebus puts it, 'there's no mystery ...except the why'. But this question takes Rebus into the heart of a shattered community. Ex-Army himself, Rebus becomes fascinated by the killer, and finds he is not alone. Army investigators are on the scene, and won't be shaken off. The killer had friends and enemies to spare and left behind a legacy of secrets and lies. Rebus has more than his share of personal problems, too. He's fresh out of hospital, hands heavily bandaged, and he won't say how it happened. Could there be a connection with a house-fire and the unfortunate death of a petty criminal who had been harassing Rebus's colleague Siobhan Clarke? Rebus's bosses seem to think so ...Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-05 The 14th novel to feature the always compelling (and, as his name suggests, perpetually puzzling) John Rebus begins with what seems to be a uniquely American crime: a madman enters a school and starts shooting, killing two students and wounding a third before turning the gun on himself. But we're in Rankin country-a perpetually damp and morally bankrupt Edinburgh-with Rebus and Siobhan Clarke searching for the real story behind what seems an act of sheer madness. This immensely satisfying police procedural has plenty of forensic science, but Rebus knows that "none of it might make them any the wiser about the only question that mattered....The why." Why did Lee Herdman, a drop-out of the U.K. version of the Special Forces, go on a rampage? Why was James Bell, the son of a self-righteous Scottish M.P., merely wounded? And why are two Army investigators sniffing around the case? A subplot has Rebus himself under suspicion of murder: a minor criminal is found dead, burned in an apartment fire, and Rebus shows up with heavily bandaged hands the next morning. The detectives encounter every stratum of contemporary Scottish society, from angry teenage toughs and petty criminals to the privileged and the powerful. It's a complex narrative, perhaps too much so at times, but the plot is less important than Rebus himself, a brilliantly conceived hero who is all too aware of his own shortcomings. In an essentially amoral society, his moral compass is always pointed steadily towards the truth. (Feb. 9) Forecast: According to the English newspaper The Guardian, Rankin books account for 10% of all crime book sales in the U.K. Already a #1 bestseller in Britain, A Question of Blood is bound to enfold more American readers in the Rankin cult. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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