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Book Review of 'In a House of Lies' by Ian Rankin

I am a homemaker, mother and a wife. I have a passion for books. I always like to know about different books and love to read them.

About the Author and the Book

Ian Rankin is a famous award-winning Scottish Crime novelist. He has been writing for more than thirty years. The stories of his books mostly revolve around Detective Inspector John Rebus. Henceforth, many times his novels are called ‘Inspector Rebus novels’. They are mostly set in Edinburgh. Around 13 of his novels are adapted as television series.

‘In a House of Lies’ is a crime novel written by Rankin and is the 22nd instalment in the series of Inspector Rebus. The book was published in October 2018 by the publisher Orion Books. The author got the inspiration to write this book from the murder of a Private Detective in London in the 1980s.



The story of the book is a cold case investigation. A car is found camouflaged in the woods. In the boot of the car, there is a body of a man whose ankles are tethered with handcuffs. The case is assigned to Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke who is seconded to MIT (Major Incident Team). She is also a friend and mentee of John Rebus, who is a retired detective. From John Rebus, the team comes to know that the body is of a private detective Stuart Bloom, who is missing for the past 12 years.

Stuart Bloom was hired by a film producer called Jackie Ness to find out about a land deal. Jackie Ness has a rivalry with another businessman called Adrian Brand. Brand wanted some land to build a golf course whereas Jackie Ness wanted the same land to make a film studio. Stuart Bloom was also in a relationship with Derek Shankley. Derek is the son of Glassgow CID.

Bloom’s family thinks that there were many gaps in the original enquiry and many important details were covered up resulting in an unsuccessful attempt to solve the case. As the body has now been found, there is a new investigation. Media is also after MIT to know the truth. Though Rebus is now old and retired and not part of MIT, still he is taking a keen interest in the investigation as the original investigation was done under him when Bloom went missing 12 years ago. In the end, he does get successful, and with his help, MIT comes to know who has committed the crime.

On the other hand, Clarke is having some own issues. She is been harassed by anonymous phone calls and graffiti. For that, she is taking the help of John Rebus which involves confession by a young person of killing his girlfriend.

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As this is the 22nd instalment in the series of Inspector Rebus, the story depicts him as retired and in poor health with COPD. He has given up smoking and is mostly away from alcohol. But to the amazement of the readers, his brain is still very sharp. Rankin has aged his character quite well. Siobhan Clarke, who is a friend and mentee of Rebus is a much dominating character in the book.

The plot is beguiling and the pace is perfect. The story is both thrilling and surprising. There are so many threads in the story that you keep wondering what the end will be like. It also has warmth and a bit of humour. As there are so many characters in this book, you need a good memory to remember them till the end. But even then, the story has been put together quite excellently. It has the capability of keeping the reader engaged.

The only downside of this book is that John Rebus seemed more like a side hero in the book instead of the main character.

Though the book can be read as a standalone, those who have read Rankin’s books before may enjoy it more for the fact they can understand the characters better. I would recommend this book to anybody who is a fan of Ian Rankin’s novels. For those who want to read his novel for the first time, I would suggest reading any of his previous novels before coming to this particular one.

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