Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible purposefully propels the reader forward with chatty, sometimes pithy, dialogue in this Scottish, police-procedural story. The action centers around changes to double-jeopardy laws that permit the reopening of some previously closed cases. Scottish separation and the political infighting, resulting from a profound restructuring of the Scottish justice system make up the canvas upon which Rankin masterly daubs his well-rounded, likeable, living and breathing people.
Rebus raises his caricatured ugly, yet determined head by coming out of retirement. He is a cop’s cop, rough around the edges and abrasive to touch, but persistently out for the truth, the kind of cop you might want to see when you have a real problem. There is more. Rebus, the protagonist, shares his role with a young woman, Clarke, he has mentored earlier in his career. Their chats while Miles Davis fills the air in Rebus’s flat bristle with the repartee that every father would love to share with his grown daughters.
Without spoiling a wonderfully circuitous route to a surprising twist at the end of the book, I highly recommend this intricate story’s development, ranging over thirty-odd years of changes in police practices because it will keep any lover of detective stories awake at night.
Stretching to find fault in this spotlessly written novel, I might have liked to read a bit more detail about Glasgow and Edinburgh in the plot. I purposefully did not go into the nature of the group associated to the title of the book. Read it to find out about the Saints of the Shadow Bible. I Couldn’t put it down.