Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review: STRIP JACK, by Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin
STRIP JACK (Inspector Rebus #4)
Orion Publishing Group, 1992
304 pages
Crime / Mystery

If I was going to name this novel, I'd call it something more appropriate like Red Herring, or Red Herring Central. Holy cow did he pack a million-and-one characters into a taut 304 page novel. I like to keep notes when I read a book, but this one kind of got out of hand. I count (give or take) thirty characters. Probably was more. My pen might have run out of ink. However. aside from thinking I might forget who someone was, the story was solid.

John Rebus has his hands full. Aside from looking into a stolen collection of rare books, he is involved in Operation Creeper. There is a bordello in town. On the good side of town --in a prominent area where well-off residents live. When the police are tipped off to the illegal operation, they have no choice but to shut her down!

During the raid, a prominent Parliament figure is snagged in the arrests. Gregor Jack was in one of the rooms, and with one of the prostitutes. Worse, someone tipped off the media. When Jack was led out of the whore house the journaists pounced. Rebus knew something smelled funny. The information about the raid was leaked to the press. Could Gregor Jack have been the target all along?

Rebus becomes even more involved in the politician's life when Elizabeth Jack --Gregor's wife-- turns up dead. And even though the similarities around her death closely match a recent murder, and the killer is confessing to both crimes Rebus isn't convinced.

With a host of likely suspects, but with seemingly no motive, Rebus begins to dig for answers, for the truth . . . Burying himself in the job, Rebus puts his personal life on hold. The dedication to the work could cost him more than he expected to lose.

While not my favorite Jack Rebus novel, STRIP JACK was still a quick read. I truly enjoy Ian Rankin's writing style. He fills each page with wonderful dialogue, and compelling narrative. The main cast of characters (Jack Rebus, Brian Holmes, Chris Kemp, etc.) are all there, and as always, we --the reader-- get more insight into them as they grow more and more into "people," as well.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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