Newest Review: ... good enough for her.... What I thought of it. The actual sub-genre Ian Rankin's books fall into is known as 'Tartan Noir' with John R... more
Don't ignore this cry of Wolf
Tooth And Nail - Ian Rankin
Member Name: mjc121
Tooth And Nail - Ian Rankin
Advantages: well written
Disadvantages: chapters perhaps a little long
This is the third Ian Rankin novel I have read since I bought the full set of his novels in hardback from one of those book clubs for £6.99 each. Crime fiction has been one of my favourite types of fiction for some years and after reading the first two Rebus novels I had high hopes of this one.
Although this book is now printed under the title 'tooth and nail' is was originally published under the name of Wolfman.
My copy of this novel has 275 pages, although this is a smaller 'book club' version of the novel so one bought in a regular high street shop would possibly have fewer than this.
John Rebus has been sent down to London to assist the Met with a rather unusual serial killer case. Rebus is not fond of the idea and he soon takes a dislike to some of the Met officers. This feeling in most cases is more than mutual.
The murderer given the name 'the wolfman' by the police is going to be hard to find, s/he has left no clues, nothing for the police to go on except the rather odd modus operandi which although is obvious what it is still looks rather odd.....
Rebus is against more than just the clock in this case, can he discover the truth before the wolfman strikes again and also make his daughter realise that her new boyfriend isn't good enough for her....
What I thought of it.
The actual sub-genre Ian Rankin's books fall into is known as 'Tartan Noir' with John Rebus fulfilling the roll of the anti-hero and again as in the first two novels he hardly instills sympathy from the reader. As for how it works as crime fiction whilst it is not as hard going as some of Ruth Rendell's books there is more to it than say an Agatha Christie.
I find the Rankin's books that I have read to be darker than most crime novels and this one particularly goes in the direction of the more psychological side of the crime novel. The novel does work as a stand alone story as well as a follow on from the first two. The only link across the novels is Rebus' relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, both of whom now live in London. For Rebus' full back story it would
probably be best to read the first Rebus novel 'Knots and Crosses' first. Rebus' dislike of his daughter's boyfriend is probably typical of a father after all he is a rather unsavoury character and a motorbike courier simply isn't good enough for his daughter, especially this one.
The novel does flow well despite the chapters being rather long so it can be hard to find somewhere to put it down for a while. There is a little jumping about between certain scenes within the novel but this does not interfere with the flow of the main plot line. There is only one major sub plot that being with Rebus and his family this is kept on the back burner so to speak throughout the majority of the novel.
Some of the characters are instantly dislikeable and not just for Rebus but also for the reader. Perhaps the most dislikeable character, other than the murderer, is that of Detective Lamb. Obnoxious and prejudiced wouldn't come close to describing Lamb's personality. George Flight, who is Rebus' opposite number in the Met, comes off far better in the like-ability stakes and you do, at times feel sorry for him for having Rebus dumped on him. Cath Farraday, George Flight's superior, however, appears to be Margaret Thatcher, Lucrezia Borgia and Ivana the Terrible rolled into one. Upsetting her is a mistake you may only be able to make once. She is the kind of person who would make the bullets but then get one of her minions to fire them.
Some of the lesser characters are, as is normal in novels, instantly forgettable. Whilst with some minor characters this is of little consequence as they only appear once others do get you flicking back through the book to find out who they are. Again as with many novels some of these characters could have been rolled into one or two more substantial roles.
I do feel that the relationship which developed between Rebus and Lisa Frazer, a psychologist who takes an interest in the crime, adds little to the storyline and in some places I feel it detracts from it. The only positives the character gives is her attempted insight into the mind of the murderer. Whilst this appears to interest Rebus (or is it just Lisa that does?) others see her as little more than an irritation and a liability.
Whilst the novel is well written I feel that the tension was only really built up towards the end of the novel when everything starts to fall into place for Rebus and especially in the car chase at the end. The evidence which stacks up during the investigation is hardly conclusive and in reality any good defence barrister would have a field day on Rebus' methods in catching the person responsible.
A well written crime novel which does take Rebus out of his comfort zone and pose more of a psychological problem. Whilst Rankin's creation of Rebus does not scream 'like me' as many other detective story writers try to do with their main character you do tend to warm to him throughout the novel. The novel has got me wanting to read the next one in the series.
My score would have been 4.5 out of 5 if Dooyoo allowed half stars.