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I had read one of Ian Rankin’s books a couple of years ago, but somehow I had overlooked the fact that there were TWENTY of his books featuring John Rebus, a detective in Scotland (Rather Be the Devil is #21). Thanks to Little, Brown and Co. and NetGalley, I had the opportunity to review the latest in this series, and  I LOVED it.

Without giving too much away, John Rebus is retired as this one opens. He seems sort of settled down, with a dog and a relationship and an attempt to give up smoking. The one thing he can’t seem to give up is his attachment to detective work and he begins looking at a cold case that happens to put him in contact with a couple of recurring characters from the series: Detective Inspectors Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox, who has been assigned to the Scottish Crime Division.

As the story develops, various plotlines are swirling around Rebus’s new life and two other characters from the Rebus series  (Big Ger Cafferty and Daryl Christie) and money laundering/fraud. In some ways, this seems like it might be a retread – which some authors have done enough to drive me crazy, as they drag out the protagonist and tell the same story over and over with minor variations. But there is real character development as Rebus faces his changing status as both a retiree from being a detective and moving toward being a senior citizen.

As the story wraps up, there are a couple of lingering questions, which bodes well for fans hoping for #22 in the series. I plan to find several of the titles in the series and read them, as there is nothing quite as satisfying as discovering an author you like and finding out they have a boatload of titles – like hitting the bibliographic jackpot! Four stars.

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