Cue the Doors classic— ‘The End’. John Rebus has reached retirement. 30 years on the force. He’s long in the tooth, and slow on the draw….. albeit he never carried a weapon. He drinks too much, has become too cynical, and doesn’t go to church anymore. He’s overweight, underpaid, and out of time. But there is still life left in the old dog, even if you can’t even get him to learn old tricks, never mind new ones.
It is not an easy thing to finish strong and well a long running popular novel series. Ian Rankin however has managed to pull it off. Exit Music is not the best of the batch, but it is a good denouement, a good way to finish the series. Rebus gets to solve a few more crimes, Siobhan Clarke gets to step up fully to the plate, and all’s well that end’s well.This particular novel is interesting because it deals with Russia’s fascination with Scotland, especially modern Russia’ economic interests in the country. A famous Russian poet is found murdered in the streets of Edinburgh, setting off a puzzling chain of events, even involving Big Ger Cafferty coming into harm’s way.
Ian Rankin has taken the brave route of not trying to tie up all the lose ends into a neat little bow. It gives the story more verisimilitude, more life-likeness. Anyway, John Rebus’ life was more like an unmade bed anyway. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading write through all these novels, and yes there is one more to read, because there is one story about Rebus coming out of retirement.
But for now, we can sum up by saying— Tooth and Nail, Black and Blue, The Hanging Garden, A Question of Blood, The Naming of the Dead. If you can only read five Rankin novels… read these. They are terrific.