Standing In Another Man’s Grave

Mysterious Book Report No. 113

by John Dwaine McKenna

One of the most interesting characters in all of crime fiction literature is a champion of seemingly lost causes named John Rebus.  You may have seen him on PBS television.  He’s the irascible, grouchy, and brilliant Scottish Detective Inspector from Edinburg created some twenty years ago by a Scotsman writer named Ian Rankin; and, like a rare single malt whisky, he gets better with age.

Standing In Another Man’s Grave, (Little, Brown, $25.99, 388 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-22458-1) by Ian Rankin is the twentieth in the series.  Like all of Rankin’s work it is intelligent, finely-crafted and engaging.  It begins with a retired DI Rebus working in a civilian capacity, organizing and looking into cold case files, while at the same time doing his best to annoy his young and ambitious supervisor.  But when he meets a woman named Nina Hazlitt, everything changes.  She’s been looking for her daughter, a young woman named Sally who disappeared ten years ago.  Her case fell off the police radar screens as more current and urgent ones turned up, because there’s no body, no suspect, and no new clues.  But Rebus, like a Don Quixote of the Edinburg Police Department, agrees to look into it . . . in spite of Nina Hazlitt’s reputation around the department as a crank.  When Rebus discovers that two other young women have disappeared on the same remote stretch of road, his intuition and experience lead him to believe that the case may involve an unknown, undiscovered, and as yet unidentified, serial killer . . . and all he has to do is convince his skeptical, underfunded and stressed out former colleagues to believe him.  Did I mention that Rebus, in addition to annoying every supervisor he’s ever had, has a drinking problem and hangs out with a couple of organized crime bosses . . . which has him being investigated by the Internal Affairs Section?  Read this excellent and finely-crafted novel for yourself, and see why Rebus has been called one of the finest characters to ever come along in the detective genre and Ian Rankin is known as the best living British crime writer.  You’ll not be disappointed.

You’ll never be disappointed by the selection and quality of reading materials at your local library.  The choices are unlimited.  Go and see for yourself and be sure to take the kids and grandkids.

Have you seen our all new and improved websites yet?  If not, you are in for a treat.  Susan and her band of computer sorcerers out there in California have worked their magic to give us a better, faster and more visual, easier to use and updated set of websites.  See for yourself at:


Oh, and that’s not all . . . if you type in the title of any of our books into your search engine, you’ll go straight to our new ‘landing page’ where you’ll be able to read reviews, excerpts and buy a copy with a couple of mouse clicks!  It is indeed, just like magic . . .

That’s about all of the magic yours truly has for this week, except this.  My oldest and dearest pal in the whole world, as well as being the senior trout fishing advisor to all of the enthusiasts over at Rhyolite Press, called a few days ago to say that he thought one of our recent reading suggestions wasn’t appropriate for general audiences because it had too much counter-culture (drug-related) details in it.  After scratching my, um, chin for a while, I had to admit . . . he was, as often, but not always, right.  So, in the next couple of Mysterious Book Reports we’ll review some novels outside of the crime-fiction genre, and deal with more literary ones.  Then, in October, we’ll do several supernatural ones with vampires and werewolves in honor of everyone’s favorite holiday, Halloween.

Don’t forget to buy copies of Rhyolite’s latest publications, The Boy Who Slept With Bears, $15.00 (ISBN 978-0-9839952-8-9) by George Douthit and Colorado Noir, $16.95 (ISBN 978-0-9896763-0-4) by John Dwaine McKenna.  Both are available at bookstores everywhere, at Amazon or as an eBook.  A limited number of signed copies are also available at Rhyolite Press, LLC, P.O. Box 2406, Colorado Springs, CO  80901.  Don’t forget to add $4.00 for shipping and handling.  We’ll see you next week with an all new MBR.