Doors Open Review

Sunday, August 23, 2009 7:20 | Filed in Books, Reviews

Doors Open (amazon)

I’m quite a fan of the writer Ian Rankin and the Inspector Rebus stories, so when I saw that his new book Doors Open had hit the paperback shelves, I had to pick it up, as much as anything else because I wanted to see what he would do in what I presume is intended as a standalone book, since Rebus has now retired.

Inspector Rebus was always a sour, grumpy old sod who seemed to have a deep love of Edinburgh (even if he didn’t always like it — it was his city. I don’t know how much this character was a reflection of Ian Rankin himself, as while the one time I met him at a book signing he wasn’t in a particularly cheery mood. Although I can imagine being shunted round various WH Smiths stores on a book signing trip isn’t the most fun thing you could do, so I’ll maybe give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

It was also interesting seeing how Ian would do with a new set of characters, particularly as my mate had asked Lee Child whether he would consider writing any non-Reacher books recently. Lee Child didn’t seem to fancy doing it, but Ian had obviously felt it was time to move on from Rebus, and while there is a certain comfort in sticking with an old familiar character, I can imagine that for some writers it may seem almost stifling.

And I have to say it was a success. The characters sucked you in very quickly into a tale of an art heist planned and executed by some previously very respectable citizens … with a little help from one of Edinburgh’s crime bosses. The scheme itself is remarkably entertaining, and it’s a jolly entertaining thriller. While not without its descent into violence from time to time, the overall tone of the book is more upbeat than the Rebus collection (probably since for the most part the characters are more upbeat and less cynical than the inspector) and while it was one I bought with the intention to read on holiday, it didn’t make it quite as far as my suitcase. I started reading it the day I bought it, put it down once, and picked it up and finished reading it the following day.

And as I say, I think it’s a cracking read. There’s also a point in the book where the characters make something of a discovery, and while I don’t want to give away much, I have to say this was particularly well plotted — in retrospect, you can see the clues, although neither me nor the main character picked up on them in time…

Whether Ian will return to any of these characters at a later date, I don’t know. On one hand, I would quite like to see some of them again, but on the other I think the book works particularly well as a standalone (and shows how well Rankin’s writing craft has developed since the Jack Harvey stuff) and it would almost be a shame for him to get caught up in another series.

But either way, I’m looking forward to the next Rankin book already. Although if he does attend any book signings in the north-east, I hope he’s a little more chipper next time…

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Comments to Doors Open Review

  1. JackP says:

    August 24th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    @Jack’s Mam – yes, I know. Unfortunately when I enquired a couple of weeks ago there were no tickets left. However, myself and Garry are on the reserve list…

  2. test says:

    September 20th, 2011 at 4:01 am

    Blogging About Things…

    [...]If you know what is your job you can be a lot more successful than when you have no experience.[...]…

Leave a comment