The Naming of the Dead Review
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As the leaders of the free world meet in Edinburgh, Scotland, war protestors descend into the streets, along with a March Against Poverty event, bent on causing as much disruption as possible. Detective Inspector John Rebus is left to man the police station while everyone else is out trying to control the mob. His captain figures Rebus can’t get in too much trouble if he’s kept away from the action. But, hey, we’re talking about John Rebus here—he’ll find trouble, guaranteed.

That trouble comes in the form of Ben Webster, a member of the London Parliament. Ben falls from Edinburgh Castle, a casualty of an apparent suicide. When his attempts at getting answers are blocked, Rebus starts asking questions, upsetting those in the political arena, and he’s warned to drop the case—and his captain orders him to drop it or risk suspension.

Meanwhile, Siobhan Clarke, who works with Rebus, gets sidetracked when her mother is clubbed in the face while trying to get out of a crowd of protestors. Siobhan thinks a police officer did it, and she searches for evidence by following a suspicious protestor named Santal.

Rebus and Siobhan also investigate the deaths of three convicted sex offenders—victims of a vigilante who might also be a serial killer. But then the killings stop, which doesn’t fit the profile of a serial killer. When one of the victims is linked to a local politician, Rebus begins to think that something more is going on—something that has nothing to do with the victims’ crimes.

The Naming of the Dead gets its name from the Clootie Well, where people go to hang pieces of clothing of deceased loved ones in the trees. It was my first Detective Inspector John Rebus read—and I must say that I really like this character. Rebus is a little rough around the edges, and he takes no crap from anyone—especially those who tend to think they’re special because of their rank in life, like politicians and dignitaries. Gotta love a guy like that!

With a detailed plot, The Naming of the Dead will take you through an elaborate maze of clues, which will be next to impossible to figure out until it twists itself back around and leaves you with a shocker of an ending. Don’t pick up this book unless you’re willing to put your mind into the mystery. It’s intense and complicated, and you’ll probably lose your way several times, but it’s a stimulating, tilt-a-whirl of a ride that you don’t want to miss.

Ian Rankin is an expert at putting his readers in the middle of the action. If you pick up a copy of The Naming of the Dead, you’re guaranteed a fantastic read—so don’t pass up the latest mystery from this top-notch crime novelist.

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