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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Let it Bleed

Ian Rankin

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To purchase Let it Bleed

Title: Let it Bleed
Author: Ian Rankin
Genre: Novel
Written: 1996
Length: 292 pages
Availability: Let it Bleed - US
Let it Bleed - UK
Let it Bleed - Canada
  • Let it Bleed is the seventh John Rebus novel

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Our Assessment:

B+ : taut, entertaining thriller

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       John Rebus never has (or takes) it easy. In Let it Bleed he's involved in a car crash, faced with a root canal and a possible promotion, and given a bag containing the pieces of a cat. Pretty much all in a day's work for the inspector. Heavy alcohol consumption is one thing Rebus can fall back upon, though here -- in the only surprise -- there's also quite a bit of weeping. But it's work that Rebus likes to lose himself in most, and the case here is certainly one he can get worked up about.
       Let it Bleed begins with multiple suicides: first there's a car chase gone bad, and then a terminally ill man offs himself in very dramatic fashion. Too dramatic fashion, as it turns out: as Rebus later explains:

McAnally slipped up, he died too spectacularly, and that got me curious.
       So Rebus goes poking his nose into business that many people don't think it belongs. The suicides -- a pair of down if not quite out young men, and the terminally ill man just released from prison -- aren't significant enough to interest many people, but there are some connexions to more important folk, and as Rebus follows the trail he stumbles onto something way bigger than he imagined.
       His higher-ups aren't eager to see him succeed. Gill Templer is back in town -- and in charge, replacing the indisposed Chief Inspector Lauderdale. This former Rebus flame has things to prove -- and is pressured from above -- so she's not much help to Rebus. And it turns out there are even higher placed people that are very interested in what Rebus is doing -- and would prefer that he were not doing it.
       Rebus is after justice, but the law isn't equal for all. The powerful and well-connected can easily complicate life -- though they turn out not to be all that effective at thwarting Rebus, who doesn't think he has that much to lose. But here there are also other considerations: the lives of hundreds of families could be affected by what Rebus uncovers (and what he does with that information).
       At least Rebus has a few allies -- notably Brian Holmes and Siobhan Clarke -- but mostly he goes it alone, fitting together the pieces -- sometimes literally. Daughter Sammy is also in the picture, though that's a decidedly mixed blessing.
       Let it Bleed is an occasionally messy novel, built around some very messy crimes, but Rankin keeps things moving at a good pace and comes up with some nice twists. Rebus' glimpse of the lives of the truly powerful is particularly good, a very different milieu than the one he's used to dealing with -- though he acquits himself very well.
       Rankin jumps about a bit to easily in places, not willing (or able) to explain it all, and some of the writing is a bit lazy, but overall this is a very entertaining police procedural, not to be missed by fans of the series.

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Let it Bleed: Reviews: Ian Rankin: Other books by Ian Rankin under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       British author Ian Rankin was born in 1960.

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© 2004-2009 the complete review

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