Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Review: Ian Rankin's "The Naming of the Dead"

Book Review: "The Naming of the Dead"
Ian Rankin
Little Brown, 2006

by Eric Green

The Recent 2009 G20 London Meeting & The 2005 G 8 Edinburgh World Session:
Ian Rankin's Mystery responds to the G8; Is the G20 Far Behind

Readers of Ian Rankin's mysteries, with his ace detective John Rebus, are probably already awaiting a new mystery that might mirror his book, "The Naming of the Dead." This mystery which took place during the 2005 G8 Meeting in his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland; and the G20 which just took place in London.

Rankin is quite amazing. He builds his characters with dedication and grit, but also shows their many human flaws, flaws that often seem insurmountable. As with other writers who love to feature the world of the city and country they are living and writing, the readers get an insiders look in to Edinburgh, Scotland. Other examples are: Henning Mankell with Southwestern Sweden; Donna Leon with Venice and Italy; Osa Larsson with the northern parts of Sweden; and Charles Todd with Southern England.

But Rankin takes a bigger step then the other writers by making his book have documentary features. He brings readers into the wild and determined demonstrations around the G8 super summit and its infamous leaders: George W. Bush and Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Through his partner in the police department, Siobhan, you meet police and security leaders as well as militant anti-war, social justice demonstrators.

Rankin's politics are not subtle. He brings the arms profiteers into the mystery, front and center. There's never a dull moment in this 530 page quick-read book.

The book covers the 7-day period of the G8 and takes readers across Scotland and northern England.

The gruffness and downright nasty attitude that Rebus shows toward everyone would certainly turn most readers against him, but here again, Rankin continually brings readers on to the side of Rebus and his crusade to get the truth and to apprehend the bad guys.

Of course, Rankin's good and bad guys, in end, keep many of their gray areas.