Plot outline[ edit ] Edinburgh has been shocked by the abduction and subsequent strangling of two young girls. John Rebus is meanwhile assigned to the investigative team. The investigation remains without success, and eventually two more girls disappear.
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Rebus is a solid cop, respected if not quite liked by his superiors. When a serial killer starts murdering young girls Detective Sergeant John Rebus joined the Edinburgh police force 15 years ago, after leaving the special forces unit of the British Army SAS.
When a serial killer starts murdering young girls in Edinburgh, Rebus is drafted onto the team investigating the deaths. At about the same time Rebus starts getting anonymous letters with cryptic messages, which he thinks are from some joker - maybe even his ex-wife or daughter. The reporter becomes even more determined to nail Rebus when the detective starts dating attractive Detective Inspector Gillian Templer - who once went out with Stevens literally once.
As the killings continue, and the anonymous letters keep coming, it becomes clear that the murderer has a fixation on Rebus himself. Eventually with a little help Rebus recalls his past and a tip from the public provides needed clues. The detective puts all this together and figures out the identity and motives of the killer, which leads to a dramatic confrontation. The story serves as a good introduction to detective Rebus himself, but the plot is too simplistic and somewhat unlikely.
It also starts off overly slowly but starts zipping along once Rebus gets into the thick of the investigation. The author violates one of my pet peeves in this book. In my opinion some male authors are especially prone to write this kind of male fantasy and I never find it credible.
The series gets even better in later books, with Rebus becoming more fully realized as a character and the mysteries themselves becoming more sophisticated and complex. The Rebus books are well-worth reading and this is a good place to start.
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