Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Tooth and Nail: Ian Rankin, February 26—March 16, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
Detective Inspector Rebus finds himself seconded to Scotland Yard to assist the Metropolitan Police with a serial killer known as Wolfman. Therefore, our grumpy hero finds himself in new turf, in the only Rebus to date which is not set in Edinburgh.
In his new surroundings, Rebus is more of an outsider than ever. The change is interesting, and allows his introspective self-absorption to continue to be explored. While London and Glasgow are often compared, Rankin’s fondness for Scotland shines through; Rebus mentions more than once buying “messages”.
The writing is much better, and Rankin is clearly getting into his stride here. It’s easy to read and flows well, and there’s some belting lines. The finale is a tremendous juxtaposition of comedy and drama that really stands out as one of the series’ best scenes so far.
Despite these strengths, Tooth and Nail is unfocused. As with previous instalments, Rebus is somehow distracted from both the case and his extra-curricular issues, leading to much of the narrative feeling like it shouldn’t be our primary focus. This is a huge issue, and though Tooth is entertaining, it’s by no means as absorbing as it could have been.
Rankin’s key strength remains in his characterisation. Rebus is evolving into a more and more crafted character, and the supporting cast re also very good. Most of them guest starring, George Flight has a brilliantly complex relationship with his new partner, and Lisa Frazer adds a further dynamic.
Another very readable volume in the Rebus series that’s imperfect, but has some bite!