Cover image for The naming of the dead / Ian Rankin.
Title:
The naming of the dead / Ian Rankin.
Author:
ISBN:
9780316099264

9780752868592

9780752883687
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Back Bay Books, 2010.

©2006
Physical Description:
452 pages ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Originally published: Little, Brown, 2007.
Abstract:
The leaders of the free world descend on Scotland for an international conference, and every cop in the country is needed for front-line duty ... except one. John Rebus's reputation precedes him, and his bosses don't want him anywhere near Presidents Bush and Putin, which explains why he's manning an abandoned police station when a call comes in. During a preconference dinner at Edinburgh Castle, a delegate has fallen to his death. Accident, suicide, or something altogether more sinister? And is it linked to a grisly find close to the site of the gathering? Are the world's most powerful men at risk from a killer? While the government and secret services attempt to hush the whole thing up, Rebus knows he has only seventy-two hours to find the answers.
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Summary

Summary

The leaders of the free world descend on Scotland for an international conference, and every cop in the country is needed for front-line duty...except one. John Rebus's reputation precedes him, and his bosses don't want him anywhere near Presidents Bush and Putin, which explains why he's manning an abandoned police station when a call comes in. During a preconference dinner at Edinburgh Castle, a delegate has fallen to his death. Accident, suicide, or something altogether more sinister? And is it linked to a grisly find close to the site of the gathering? Are the world's most powerful men at risk from a killer? While the government and secret services attempt to hush the whole thing up, Rebus knows he has only seventy-two hours to find the answers.


Author Notes

Ian Rankin lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons.

Born in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982. He is the author of the much translated, bestselling Inspector Rebus Series whose first Rebus novel was published in 1987.

Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America's celebrated Edgar Award for 'Resurrection Men'. He has also been shortlisted for the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the USA, and won Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis.

Rankin is a contributor to BBC2's 'Newsnight Review' and also presented his own TV series, 'Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts'. He recently received the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to literature.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

James Gale proves an excellent choice to narrate this latest entry to the long-running Inspector Rebus series. It's 2005 and Rebus is mourning the unexpected death of his brother. It is a death that will cause a lot of introspective musings for the detective as he sees his retirement edging over the horizon. But soon Rebus and his partner are after a possible serial killer who is doing in former sex offenders. Add to that the apparent suicide of an MP and the horror of the London subway bombings, and you have another first-rate Scottish mystery, that is only enhanced by Gale's performance. Gale's gruff, gravelly delivery brings just the right amount of world weariness to his characterization of Rebus. With the rich array of accents at his disposal, Gale is equally effective in his portrayal of Rankin's supporting characters, especially the smug amoral crime boss Cafferty, who comes across as a smirking, self-satisfied alley cat with fresh bird feathers in his whiskers. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 22). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


New York Review of Books Review

MY tinfoil hat is off in admiration for anyone who translates speculative fiction for fun or profit. Lord Xenu knows, the genre can be difficult enough to understand when reader and author speak the same language; the challenge becomes exponentially greater when an interpreter must take an idea that is by definition alien to native speakers, and somehow make it comprehensible to foreign audiences. (Is there a Japanese word for "flesh-tube monster"? Apparently, there is.) But when this act of alchemy is performed just right, the cumulative effect is like science fiction squared: it can introduce a reader - even one accustomed to being shown worlds he never realized were possible - to new ways of thinking about the unknown. Sometimes such a work can further illuminate an established author about whom you thought you knew everything there was to know. STRAIGHT TO DARKNESS: Lairs of the Hidden Gods (Kurodahan, paper, $20) is the third anthology in a series of fiction by Japanese writers, set in the Cthulhu mythos of the American pulp master H. P. Lovecraft - that means dark, weird tales about tentacled beasts, ancient artifacts that ooze unidentifiable slime and baby-eating cultists eager to bring about the end of the world. As the Lovecraft scholar Robert M. Price argues in an insightful introduction, the original Cthulhu stories resonate uniquely in Japan, a nation that has not only a documented affinity for giant green, scaly monsters, but also a longstanding fear of any organized activity that smacks of cultism - a land where Christianity was alternately banned and bastardized for centuries. This historical phobia is put to chilling use in the collection's opening story, "The Secret Memoir of the Missionary," by Tanaka Hirofumi, in which a 16th-century Jesuit finds it frighteningly easy to convert the Japanese to a cannibalistic religion that surely isn't Roman Catholicism. Other stories in the book, which has been edited by Asamatsu Ken and translated by various hands, deal with the sexual subtext lurking in Lovecraft's obsessions with appendages and fluids. But by far the best entry is Kobayashi Yasumi's more straightforward "C-City," in which a team of scientists attempting to defeat Cthulhu instead creates an entity even more deadly. (Sometimes a tentacle is just a tentacle.) Of course, there are plenty of talented international science-fiction authors working in their own milieus, too. BABYLON BABIES (Semiotext(e), paper, $19.95), an underappreciated novel by the French punk rocker turned writer Maurice G. Dantec, deserves a wider audience, and not just because its author is frequently mentioned in the same breath as Michel Houellebecq (and definitely not because the book is being adapted into a movie starring Vin Diesel). Like Houellebecq, Dantec takes his inspiration from both high and low culture; he is the sort of writer who cites Sun Tzu's "Art of War" and the Stooges' "Search and Destroy" with equal facility. The hero of "Babylon Babies," named Toorop, is a kind of cultural mongrel himself, a former member of the Bosnian special forces now working as a mercenary, hired to protect a schizophrenic young woman while she travels an itinerary designed to lead her across three continents. Inevitably, plans go awry, as Toorop and his mysterious charge encounter an enclave of cyborg separatists, an intelligent computer suffering from gender identity issues, and a really smashing combination of drugs and computer software capable of inducing the most delicious sadomasochistic delights. These are all clever inventions, but what makes the novel (translated by Noura Wedell) so haunting is its vision of a near future in which society has fractured along every possible national, tribal and sectarian fault line. Wars among European, Islamic and Asian militias blur together as seamlessly as a rerun of "Beverly Hills 90210" gives way to a Russian broadcast of "Swan Lake," and every last surviving scrap of humanity is left to its own devices to continue what Dantec calls "the austere work of survival." Mankind's political and territorial struggles need not be confined solely to this planet. In her novel A GAME OF PERFECTION (Edge/Hades, paper, $16.95), √Člisabeth Vonarburg returns to the planet Virginia, introduced in her previous novel "Dreams of the Sea" as a distant satellite of the star Altair, settled by humans and embroiled in the same postcolonial conflicts as its earthly namesake. In this sequel (translated by the author and Howard Scott), Vonarburg, a French-language writer who lives in Canada, focuses on a character named Simon Rossem, a former autistic savant who finds himself miraculously healed of his affliction, imbued with extrasensory abilities and aging only in appearance while his internal organs never deteriorate. In a story that spans decades, Simon becomes a mentor to a team of young psychics he is fated to outlive, and unearths clues about his planet's early, feudalistic history. While I'm not certain the many interlocking pieces of the narrative fit together by its end - this is only the second book in a five-volume epic - it is fascinating to watch Vonarburg grapple with the psyche of a man who might live for centuries or more, whose desires and motivations need not conform with those of us who'll get a mere 75 years if we're lucky. Even when a translated work of fantasy doesn't necessarily capture the collective imagination of an American audience, it can still offer a valuable window into the author's native culture. In Russia, Sergei Lukyanenko's "Night Watch" novels, about a continuing battle between supernatural "Others" fought in the shadows of modern-day Europe, have been best sellers, and a film version of "Night Watch" was a blockbuster there as well. But neither the book nor the film has found a substantial following in the States yet. ANDREW Bromfield's translation of the franchise's second book, DAY WATCH (Miramax/Hyperion, paper, $13.95), showcases Lukyanenko's sardonic sense of humor. (He wrote this novel in collaboration with Vladimir Vasiliev.) Years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, his Others are still obsessed with bureaucracy and rigid notions of tradition: When is the most appropriate time in a young man's life for him to become a vampire? What recourse is one permitted after being assaulted by a shape-shifting hooker? The bickering orders of Light and Dark operate not from enchanted castles but from deceptively mundane office complexes; they still visit the old Soviet youth camp of Artek to recharge their batteries, and when they can't settle their differences with old-fashioned magic, there is an ominous Dostoyevsky-style inquisition waiting to intervene with verdicts of dematerialization. I suppose it's comforting, in a way, to learn that while Mother Russia's monsters may differ from generation to generation, their methodology never really changes. And then, every so often, you come across a work whose vividness and vitality are so abundant they seem to transcend language. The Serbian author Zoran Zivkovic (not to be confused with the former prime minister of Serbia) already has many passionate supporters in America, and though it is too soon to crown him the new Borges, SEVEN TOUCHES OF MUSIC: A Mosaic Novel (Aio, $23.95) makes him a leading candidate for the position. A well-produced and elegant little book, "Seven Touches" is a set of stories in which music plays a transformative, often mystical role in the lives of the characters: an organ grinder's abrasive melodies cause a woman to see visions of others' deaths; an antique music box summons up ghosts in the apartment of an old widower. Though some of the scenarios may be stock, Zivkovic's renderings of them never are - he invariably finds some kernel of transcendence in routine and unexamined rituals. Equal credit is due his translator, Alice Copple-Tosic, who makes him readable without sacrificing the exotic otherness of his expressions: for example, his description of an interrupted dream returning to its "inky lake," or a cryptic warning that those who await the arrival of a horseman should not "mistake your heartbeat for the beat of a horse's hoofs." It feels almost too confining to place Zivkovic's work in the category of speculative fiction, but until our limited language can generate a more befitting name for his genre, the classification will have to do. Science fiction is a challenge for translators. (Is there a Japanese word for 'flesh-tube monster? Apparently.)


Library Journal Review

With all the leaders of the free world in town, who but Inspector Rebus can determine whether one's deadly fall was an accident? The bristly inspector is entering his 20th year. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.