It's late autumn in Edinburgh and late autumn in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. As he tries to tie up some loose ends before retirement, a murder case intrudes. A dissident Russian poet has been found dead in what looks like a mugging gone wrong. By apparent coincidence a high-level delegation of Russian businessmen is in town, keen to bring business to Scotland. The politicians and bankers who run Edinburgh are determined that the case should be closed quickly and clinically. But the further they dig, the more Rebus and his colleague DS Siobhan Clarke become convinced that they are dealing with something more than a random attack - especially after a particularly nasty second killing. Meantime, a brutal and premeditated assault on local gangster 'Big Ger' Cafferty sees Rebus in the frame. Has the Inspector taken a step too far in tying up those loose ends? Only a few days shy of the end to his long, inglorious career, will Rebus even make it that far?
--Having found this series last year I've enjoyed catching up and now find I will miss Rebus and Siobhan. I will watch for any Ian Rankin novels and hope they capture my interest in the same way.
Starred Review. Wondrous worlds await U.S. SF fans in this sensitively chosen, impeccably translated anthology of Continental European science fiction stories, ranging from 1987 to 2005. Offering "emotional satisfaction and cerebral excitement," as James Morrow puts it in his introduction, highlights include Johanna Sinisalo's "Baby Doll," a Finnish denunciation of materialistic exploitation of children; Romanian Lucian Merisca's "Some Earthlings' Adventures on Outrerria," an excruciating political satire; Valerio Angelisti's "Sepultura," which offers a neo-Dantean Infernoscape; and W.J. Maryson's "Verstummte Musik," a Dutch near-future Orwellian nightmare. A French twist on human-machine interface lifts Jean-Claude Dunyach's "Separations" into a meditation on the nature of artistic creativity, while Elena Arsenieva's "A Birch Tree, a White Fox" exquisitely illustrates the quintessential Russian soul. These "disciplined speculations" by European writers and their painstaking translators not only excite the mind, they move the heart.
In my movie/book list for this year I'm including books I started with great hopes but didn't finish. The reasons: I couldn't connect with the characters, the story/plot didn't hold any interest for me or perhaps I disliked the writers narrative style. They are marked DNF.