Saturday, December 15, 2007

Resurrection Men

Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin is the 13th book in the Inspector Rebus series and the 1st of Rankin's books I've read. It won the Edgar Award in 2004.

from the back of the book:

Packed off to the remote Scottish Police College for a lesson in teamwork — after hurling a mug at his supervisor's face — Inspector John Rebus finds himself in a snake pit. His classmates, an unruly band of rebel cops known as Resurrection Men, are suspected of orchestrating an elaborate drug heist, and Rebus is recruited by headquarters to get to the bottom of matters. It's no easy task: the investigation threatens to uncover a secret Rebus has spent years trying to conceal, and before long Rebus finds himself in the thick of a scandal with conspirators seemingly everywhere — men who have no problem spilling blood to get what they want.

I did enjoy this one. The detectives in this book are as much or more of the problem as the "real" criminals are.

But this music thing. It's wearing on me. It's not just this steady mention of which cd is playing that has begun appearing as I read mysteries from the early 1990's, it's that the music that's playing is the only cultural reference that regularly appears. The book on the coffee table? Never mentioned. The print on the wall? Nope. The movie on the DVD or the film at the theater? Never referred to. It's just an odd thing to me to focus so single-mindedly on what music the characters listen to while never once mentioning what book they're reading or what film they last saw. Maybe I'm just weird, but I'm not getting this sudden and ubiquitous music sensibility. I had had hopes that this mystery wouldn't be this way since there were no mentions in the first 76 pages, but when the top of the 77th contained a comment on the size of the main character's record collection I knew I was in for another of those books. It would be interesting to read the first couple in this series and see if the musical talk is there. We even get lists in this book. From page 84:

He picked up his going-away present from Jean - a portable CD player. She'd added some CDs too: Steely Dan, Morphine, Neil Young... He'd brought a few others: Van Morrison, John Martyn. He fixed the headphones on and pushed the START button. The swelling opening of "Solid Air" filled his head, pushing out everything else. He leaned back against the pillow. Decided the song was definitely on the shortlist for his funeral. Knew he should write the shortlist down. After all, you never could tell.

In this book the characters actually discuss their opinions of the music with one another.

It is strange to me that Rankin's characters have music on the brain all the time but here in this 13th book in a series the characters don't read.

None of this should be taken to mean I don't like this book. I do. I'm just tired of this particular motif.

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