Dead Souls by Ian Rankin

‘Dead Souls’ is the 10th book in the Rebus series by Ian Rankin. After the crises at the end of the previous novel ‘Hanging Garden’ Rebus now finds himself surrounded by the ghosts of his past – particularly Jack Morton. He is back to drinking (in increasing quantity) and he is once again living with his girlfriend Patience, but they don’t seem to be getting on very well.

One of the Scotland police Force’s brightest stars has just committed suicide. Jim Margolies had everything going for him. He looked like he would eventually be chief, he had a beautiful and loving wife and child, and with family money, he had an enviable lifestyle. What would cause him to take his own life?

Meanwhile, on an unrelated job, Rebus encounters a recently released Paedophile. When he discovers that he is living in a housing estate with a view of the playground, Rebus decides to out him to a newspaper. This is a decision he later regrets when the residents of the housing estate form a vigilante group, and Rebus finds out the real reason that he was living there.

An ex-girlfriend of Rebus’s from his high school days contacts Rebus to help locate her 19 year old son who has gone missing.

And, on top of everything else, Rebus is given responsibility for monitoring Cary Oakes. Oakes is a mass murderer recently released from the US prison system on a technicality, who has returned to Edinburgh to take revenge against some childhood acquaintances.

Somehow all the cases Rebus is working on merge into one – either through truly being related of just in Rebus’s befuddled brain. And, as Oakes plays games with Rebus and his friends and family, Rebus doggedly tracks down missing persons, paedophiles and murderers.


After a couple of books of a slightly more ‘with it’ Rebus, he has once again descended into a dark and gloomy life. The plot(s) of this novel was excellent although there was a huge amount going on to keep track of. The name of the next in the series – ‘Set in Darkness’ has already set the tone!


Book Published 1999


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