Monday, August 31, 2015

Collected Inspector Rebus Stories a Crime Fiction Gem

The Beat Goes On by Ian Rankin is the complete collection of Inspector Rebus short stories, featuring the irascible Edinburgh, Scotland detective.

The collection of 31 stories includes three not previously published. The stories are presented in chronological order, running over the span of years as John Rebus moves from young Detective Constable to veteran Chief Inspector.

The crimes involve everything from theft and violent assault to murder. But the true focus is the character of Rebus himself, with his sour cynicism and sardonic remarks. Rebus is often in conflict with his plodding bosses. But he plunges ahead regardless, like a rude bulldozer that won't be stopped until a case is closed.

The Beat Goes On is an entertaining set of crime stories and a treat for Inspector Rebus fans.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

BADLANDS by C.J. Box - Murders in an Oil Boomtown

Badlands by C.J. Box is set on the frigid plains of North Dakota, where the shale oil industry has created whole new boomtowns flush with high pay and "man camps" of newly arrived workers. But with the boom comes drugs and brutal criminal gangs competing for the cash-rich territory.

Arriving in the overcrowded town of Grimstad is Detective Cassie Dewell, hired to be the new Chief Investigator of the Sheriff's Department. In her previous job in Montana, she worked a serial murder case that led to the death of her police partner. Looking for a fresh start, Cassie finds herself suddenly dealing with violent gang murders and corruption that may reach into her own new department.

C.J. Box if the author of the popular crime novel series that features Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. Badlands has the new main character of Cassie Dewell, who appeared in a prior Box novel, The Highway. Cassie is mid-thirties, not very tall, and somewhat overweight. But she's a sharp investigator and a good shot when she has to be. This combination makes her character both realistic and appealing.

Badlands offers the same sweeping sense of rugged landscape and the threat of rough violence as other C.J. Box western crime novels. If this one is part of a new series built around Cassis Dewell, it's a great start.