Posts tagged ‘Ian Rankin’

December 15, 2013

Books of the Year 2013

by Andre

Books_of_2013We’ve expanded our trawl of the literary pages for the books of 2013 to come up with a definitive list of the 10 favourites (click on the image for a clearer view of the books – all available at the Riverside, of course). Here’s our top 10 poll of polls based on the books with the most nominations from critics and fellow authors in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, The Spectator, Financial Times, New York Times, Metro, The Independent, Daily Mail and Sunday Times.

1 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“…a deliciously compellingly dazzling jewel about beauty, fate and life.” – Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard

2 Margaret Thatcher – The Authorised Biography: Volume 1 – Not For Turning
“…an exceptional political biography with dozens of incidental pleasures — it is full of Dickensian walk-on parts and deliciously redolent of its period.” – Philip Hensher, Spectator

3 Tenth of December by George Saunders
“The stories are clever and moving, and the title story is the best piece of fiction I’ve read this year.” – Roddy Doyle, Guardian

4 The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
“…an extraordinary story of literary accomplishment, passionate war-mongering and sexual incorrigibility.” – John Preston, Spectator

5 The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
“I read… The Luminaries three times in my capacity as Man Booker judge, and each time round it yielded new riches.” – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian

6 Love, Nina: Despatches From Family Life by Nina Stibbe
“…no book this year made me laugh more.” – John Lanchester, Guardian

7 Harvest by Jim Crace
“…easily the best-written novel of the year.” – Philip Hensher, Spectator

8 Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee
“…charts a life that travelled the full 360 degrees on the wheel of fortune.” – Helen Simpson, Guardian

9 Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
“…her most challenging, complex and compelling novel yet.” – Ian Rankin, Guardian

10 Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin by Damian McBride
“Bankrupt of morals and bankrupt of style, it is a nonpareil of peevishness, and self-delusion shines from it like a Christmas star.” – Hilary Mantel, Guardian

Several of these titles were, in fact, level pegging but at the top The Goldfinch did just edge out Charles Moore’s richly rewarding – and surprisingly funny – account of Thatcher up until the 1982 Falklands victory. The P-Fitz biography did well to make the top 10 as it was only released in November. Stoner by John Williams got plenty of picks as a favourite of 2013, even though it first appeared in 1965. And bubbling under: The Circle by Dave Eggers, The Childhood of Jesus by J M Coetzee and All That Is by James Salter (“no question, the best novel I read this year,” said Richard Ford of the senior American author).

September 7, 2013

Standing in Another Man’s Grave: Ian Rankin

by Andre

Ian Rankin STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVEIan Rankin SAINTS OF THE SHADOW BIBLEThe return of John Rebus has been one of the great comebacks of the past 12 months, along with that of The Rolling Stones – one of the fictional Edinburgh detective’s favourite bands. (Ian Rankin even named Let It Bleed and breakthrough novel Black and Blue after albums by the Stones.) Having retired Rebus after 17 books, Rankin started on a new crime series featuring the reformed alcoholic Malcolm Fox, an internal affairs police investigator.

Fox is a cold fish and readers have not relished the series as much as several hours in the company of the bloody-minded Rebus. So it was a cunning move by Rankin to bring Rebus back as a civilian working cold cases with Fox as a minor character, who’s cast as the ex-cop’s nemesis and determined to prevent him taking advantage of the raising of the police retirement age to re-join the force. Standing in Another Man’s Grave begins with Rebus contented – he still enjoys a drink in the Oxford Bar and listening to classic rock on vinyl as he nods off in an armchair – and coping with boredom by winding up the young, ambitious boss in cold cases. He’s even reached a truce with arch-enemy and local villain “Big Ger” Cafferty.

This routine’s disrupted when Rebus is persuaded to follow up on the case of a missing girl by her mother. Soon patterns are emerging with that disappearance in 1999 and recent cases of missing women, and Rebus leaves the familiar Edinburgh streets (and pubs) for a road trip along the A9 to the Scottish Highlands. He’s also reunited with his English protégée, DI Siobhan Clarke, and their relationship, fractious but with an unbreakable bond, is at the heart of a novel that has some sly references to the upcoming 2014 independence referendum. Rankin and Rebus are on fine form here – and it promises good things for the next book in the revived Scottish crime series, Saints of the Shadow Bible (out 7 November).