Rebus is back in the police, demoted and a bit angry. While Rebus investigates a car accident, he learns that a case he and his mentors worked thirty years ago is about to be reopened. That investigation is led by none other than Malcolm Fox, and Rebus is caught between his sense of justice and loyalty to the men who helped him start his career in the police.
Standing in Another Man’s Grave was the first time Rebus and Fox, both Rankin creations in their own series, went head to head, but that stand off was just a teaser to the action in Saints of the Shadow Bible. While Rebus ostensibly is working with Malcolm, you as the reader are never sure if his loyalties lie with the truth or with his old comrades. While many Rebus books have let the famous Edinburgh cop toe the line, in Saints of the Shadow Bible, Rebus appears to have let his post-retirement demotion and treatment force him over once and for all. As a long-time reader of Rebus, even I was sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what decision the veteran cop was going to make.
Rankin is in great shape in his most recent work, and it was great to see the contrast of Fox and Rebus when they were placed side by side. I felt that Saints of the Shadow Bible was much stronger than Standing in Another Man’s Grave or Exit Music, putting Rebus back into some of his best form in years. Rankin raises the tension, keeps the reader guessing in the two central mysteries, and showcases the growth of his characters over the years. Now if only Siobhan could be more settled and happy and less like Rebus in her personal life (I would also read a book centered solely on Rebus’s apprentice).
I am more excited to see where Rebus and Fox are heading, and hopefully we’ll get to see more of Fox finding his way in his new reality as well. Rankin is taking this next year off, so no new books will be hitting our shelves until at least 2015, but I cannot wait for what’s next for Edinburgh’s craziest cops.