Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: Tooth & Nail by Ian Rankin

Tooth and Nail is one in the series of novels by Ian Rankin that features the character Inspector Rebus. Scottish detective Rebus is summoned to New Scotland Yard, in London, to help catch a serial killer, named by the media "the Wolfman". At first Rebus is out of sorts off his home patch and this is not helped by the frosty reception he is given by his colleagues but when he makes a couple of allies he gets on the trail of the killer and rather than wait to react to the crimes he attempts to provoke the killer into providing some clues.

This book was one of the earlier serial killer novels and it does not fall into the many cliches that are often found in more recent publications. The reader will find themselves eager to learn about the main characters as they are developed in the early part of the story whilst at the same time the fundamentals of the investigation are outlined. The investigation proceeds as more killings occur and some help from an unexpected source adds the mystery and finally the twist that readers come to expect from a detective/thriller novel.

Apart from being a thoroughly readable story, one of this books best assets are the characters. Detective Rebus  is real. he is not some all-knowing super hero and neither is he the stereotypical worn-out investigator. His London counterpart, George Flight, is also recognizable as a real person and not a cliched character; a good policeman, friendly and polite but also with reservations. The third main character, Liza Frazer, is also interesting and someone with talent yet not quite the finishes article in terms of her criminal investigation skills are concerned.

Tooth and Nail is a book which really made me turn the pages and believe in the characters and the investigation, in fact one of this book's downfalls, in my option, is that it is not long enough to deal properly with the situation the author creates. This leads on to the biggest disappointment here, for me, which was the sudden way that Rebus puts the case together; as if by magic he solves the case and an otherwise excellent book is wrapped up too quickly for my liking, although the ending does contain a skillful plot twist by the author.


I would recommend this book to fans of Ian Rankin and his character Rebus. Although I have never read any of the others in this series, the quality of the writing and plot are good enough to please fans. Readers who enjoy detective stories and serial killer novels should read this offering from a skilled writer but it falls short of being a classic for me.

 Score: 8.5/10 

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