A Rebus feeding frenzy


I’ve done it again.

I’ve just finished Even Dogs in the Wild and now I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do next. I’m walking around the house, staring out windows, ignoring dishes and housework imagining what Rebus is doing now. I’d go on but that would give away the end. You get my drift.

What is it about these stories that have me racing to the end to see ‘who dun it’ and then regretting reaching the end. Because, like all good tales. You never want to turn that last page. It’s the sort of story that has you reading the very, very back page stuff. The lists of other books, the name of the publisher, even the ISBN number. Yes, it’s sad, sad stuff.

Fortunately, this time I am also half way through The Beat Goes On. So my mourning period won’t last long. The wild dogs is the very latest Rankin. The Beat is a series of short stories that roughly cover a year in the life of Rebus. The novel is a mix of old and new short stories and I’ve read somewhere it was compiled for Rebus fans who had to wait a year longer for this latest novel. Thank you Mr Rankin and his wise publishers, an inspired move. I have to add, the first line of the first story plunges you straight into a Rebus novel. But unlike the novels, you can race to the end of each story in the comfort and delight that there are many more to come.

I’ve also just read an interview by Ian Rankin, who talked about all sorts of things from poetry to getting that kernel of an idea, a big idea, and using that as a theme. I wonder if that is the key that makes Ian Rankin’s Rebus stories so great? Poetry and big global, geo – political, humanitarian themes.

Or is it Rebus? I have been considering this today as I wander aimlessly from room to room. This writing puzzle keeps coming back to character. A good, strong character. One who leaps off the page in high definition, 3-D colour with all the flaws, warts and body odours. Someone who is very human. When cracked, wow, it’s truly something to behold.

I wonder if that is that ‘kernel of gold’ we aspiring writers are searching for? If it is. Great. Question solved – the next question – how do you create such a complete and complex character?

One for another day, for now I have a cup of tea and The Beat Goes on awaits.

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