Detective Inspector John Rebus, famous for being a troublemaker and a connoisseur of practically every bar in the Edinburgh area, is loaned to the West End police when the brutally stabbed body of a Kurdish immigrant is found in Knoxland, a seedy area where the immigrant population and racial intolerance are equally on the rise. At around the same time, two skeletons are discovered in the basement of a newly renovated bar Ė that of a mother and child - and this gruesome discovery leads the public, press and police alike to speculate wildly.
Meanwhile, Rebusí good friend and colleague, Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clark, finds a mystery of her own to solve. Having assisted in solving the rape case of a young woman some time previously, Siobhan feels compelled to accept when the parents request her help when their second daughter goes missing. All the various cases seem to only breed more mystery, and in trying to figure out one case, Rebus and Siobhan often end up finding clues to another. How the various pieces of this vastly diverse puzzle come together in perfect harmony makes for compelling reading.
Life in todayís world is not at all simple, and nothing makes this clearer than Fleshmarket Alley, acclaimed author Ian Rankinís skillfully crafted and provocative new novel. His lead character, Inspector John Rebus, rarely minces words and, in the process of solving mystery cases, brings critical and relevant social issues to light, such as the rise in immigration, the consequent rise in racial intolerance, slave trade in todayís modern world, etc. Crusty Rebus and the determined Siobhan make an intriguing pair and there are sparks galore, whether arising from their sometimes vastly different approach to detecting or the sexual heat always just simmering under the surface. In the course of investigation, what Rebus discovers about the plight of the refugees and their treatment by both the government and the general populace will surely give readers plenty of fodder for thought even as itís sure to pluck their heartstrings. Fast-paced, exciting and challenging, this outstanding Ian Rankin novel entertains as well as educates.