Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

September Books 6) Set in Darkness, by Ian Rankin

Another excellent crime novel from Rankin, set in late 1998, with the election campaign for the new Scottish Parliament just getting going, and old scores being settled - quite literally a skeleton in a cupboard, or at least a walled-up fireplace - from the failure of the March 1979 referendum (the first time I can remember that event being mentioned in the Rebus series). Rankin is deviating ever further from the standard narrative of solving a crime and bringing the miscrents to justice, and instead painting a gripping picture of a society where justice is not served - at least not formally - and where the real new rulers of Scotland are the criminal elite. A lot of devastating moments in this one, not the least of which is one of Rankin's most compelling portraits of a family of celebrities, in politics and other fields - we've had the occasional politico before, but never moored so intensely to the political changes in Scotland in the 1990s. If these books weren't written so well (and perhaps if I were myself Scottish and felt I had a atronger stake in the situations rankin is describing), I would find his portrait of a morally eroded society very depressing. As it is, I find it pretty compelling.
Tags: bookblog 2010, writer: ian rankin

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