Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Strip Jack: Ian Rankin, March 14—24, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Rebus is back in Edinburgh, where he belongs. It’s a funny instalment that seems to be having an identity crisis to begin with.
The early sequences involve a raid on a brothel from which the MP for a fictional Esk constituency in Scotland’s capital emerges. All very awkward. Then his wife goes missing too, and Rebus reckons the poor chap’s been set up. It’s all quite un-Rebussy though. It lacks the bite and wit that is normally its hallmark.
However, as the novel progresses it finds its stride and Rebus gets more comfortable in his skin. It’s a pivotal novel: the fictional police station is abandoned, and the characters Patience Atkin and police administrator Frank Lauderdale are introduced. Lauderdale is after ‘Farmer’ Watson’s job; Patience is after Rebus’s residence.
The majority of the investigation involves a group of school friends who have stayed close into adulthood. It’s very interesting to see Rebus wade through it, when he is so isolated and confused by the whole prospect of lifelong friendship.
In the end, Strip Jack is a really enjoyable volume in the series that serves as the gateway from the experimental phase of Rankin’s work to Rebus’s golden era.