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Fleshmarket Close
Ian Rankin
British title for "Fleshmarket Alley."

"Fleshmarket Close is not one of the best of Rankin's John Rebus thrillers, but his second-best is still more than excellent. Middle age is catching up with Rebus--he currently has no desk as a none-too-subtle hint from his superiors that he should seek retirement--but he and his friend and protegee Siobhan, who is still not his lover, race around investigating a variety of seemingly unconnected casesÂ… The sister of a dead rape victim is missing; stolen medical skeletons turn up embedded in a concrete floor; a Kurdish journalist is brutally killed; the son of a Glasgow ganglord has moved in to the Edinburgh vice scene.

Much of the book is dominated by two new settings--a sink estate divided between racist thugs and refugees, and a small town whose economy is dominated by an internment camp for those about to be deported; this is one of Rankin's preachier thrillers, but it is never less than intelligent and evocative in its descriptions of a contemporary squalor that spreads beyond the inner city. These are never quite orthodox police procedurals--Rebus' method is a little too like the standard private eye's way of wandering around being rude to people until something comes loose--but they have a deep seriousness about the way we live now that transcends mere noir moodiness."--Roz Kaveney

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