Bible John killed three women, and took three souvenirs. Johnny Bible killed to steal his namesake’s glory. Oilman Allan Mitchelson died for his principles. And convict Lenny Spaven died just to prove a point. “Bible John” terrorized Glasgow in the sixties and seventies, murdering three women he met in a local ballroom–and he was never caught. Now a copycat is at work. Nicknamed “Bible Johnny” by the media, he is a new menace with violent ambitions.
The Bible Johnny case would be perfect for Inspector John Rebus, but after a run-in with a crooked senior officer, he’s been shunted aside to one of Edinburgh’s toughest suburbs, where he investigates the murder of an off-duty oilman. His investigation takes him north to the oil rigs of Aberdeen, where he meets the Bible Johnny media circus head-on. Suddenly caught in the glare of the television cameras and in the middle of more than one investigation, Rebus must proceed wiht caution: One mistake could mean an unpleasant and not particularly speedy death, or, worse still, losing his job.
Written with Ian Rankin’s signature wit, style and intricacy, Black and Blue is a novel of uncommon and unforgettable intrigue.
Reviews From Kirkus
Nearly 30 years after a serial killer dubbed Bible John abruptly retired after three vicious murders, he’s back in the news again. Johnny Bible, an equally perverted killer who seems to be much younger, is imitating him with a gusto that suggests close research. Even though he knew one of Johnny Bible’s victims, Edinburgh’s Inspector John Rebus is in no position to take on this new case; he’s got his hands full with a murdered oil-rig painter and the threatened reopening of a case in which he and his mentor, Inspector Lawson Geddes, may have planted evidence years and years ago that framed Lenny Spaven, who went to his death insisting he was innocent. When Rebus takes a few days in Aberdeen to visit the oil company’s headquarters and incidentally chat up the locals about another of Johnny Bible’s victims, he ends up under suspicion of killing a fourth victim himself and gets stuck with a minder who’ll report his every move back to the very same Chief Inspector who’s been put in charge of the Spaven case. Can things get any worse? Of course they can. For even though Rebus is behind the eight-ball, another avenger- -Bible John himself–is prepared to do whatever it takes to catch the copycat. Rebus’s eighth case (Let It Bleed, 1996, etc.) is his biggest and most grueling so far. Yet Rankin’s dexterity in juggling plots and threats and motives lights up the darkness with a poet’s grace. Reading him is like watching somebody juggle a dozen bottles of single malt without spilling a drop. — Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Review From Amazon[dot]com
“I’m a peeper, he thought, a voyeur. All cops are. But he knew he was more than that: he liked to get involved in the lives around him. He had a need to know which went beyond voyeurism. It was a drug. And the thing was, when he had all this knowledge, he then had to use booze to blank it out…” In his ninth outing, Edinburgh’s glowering and tenacious Inspector John Rebus finds a unique way of cutting back on alcohol. Convinced that Rebus might lie or try to destroy evidence in the reopened case of a man convicted of a murder he probably didn’t commit, the investigating officer assigns him a babysitter. Luckily, the minder is one of Rebus’s old mentors, Jack Morton, a former drinking buddy now waging a successful battle against the bottle. Rebus and Morton burn off energy and anger repainting Rebus’s apartment, while trying to clear Rebus’s name and exploring the connection between a recent string of murders and a real-life Scottish serial killer of the 1970s known as Bible John. The cases take Rebus to Aberdeen and an oil platform in the North Atlantic, but as usual the main action happens within the mind and soul of Rankin’s meticulously crafted creation. Previous entries in the memorable Rebus series are also available, including Let It Bleed, Hide and Seek, Knots and Crosses, Mortal Causes, and Tooth and Nail.