dark-road-rankinSomething a bit different this way comes. Dark Road marks Ian Rankin’s debut as playwright, working in collaboration with Mark Thomson. It may look like a novel, but this is a dialogue-led playbook and a departure in more than one sense – no Rebus in these parts.

While the play itself received a mixed critical response when it opened at the Royal Lyceum in Rankin’s home town of Edinburgh, this was generally in terms of staging and inherent tensions between dramatic and theatrical formats. They felt there was much that was novel-like, which perhaps translated less successfully to the stage. So in theory, now we have a book in our hands, this should be a great read!

Isobel McArthur is Scotland’s first female police chief, considering retirement so she can write her life story. They say every detective has a career-defining case, and McArthur’s is the conviction of Alfred Chalmers for the murder of four young women, twenty-five years before.

Never totally convinced of Chalmers’ guilty verdict, which was largely based on 1980s forensic evidence, McCarthur is still haunted by uncertainty. Perhaps now it’s time to revisit the case in the hope of some closure. Her decision tears apart barely-healed wounds and she’s soon caught in a web of corruption, mind-games and deceit, which threatens not only her own life, but those of her daughter and fellow officers.

I probably don’t need to tell you much about Ian Rankin, a crime author so important in his native Scotland that his portrait hangs in the National Gallery. His dark tales of troubled DI Rebus have brought countless thousands of tourists to Edinburgh to look gloomily into the bottom of a pint glass. Purists, meanwhile, can visit the Rebus Wiki http://rebus.wikia.com/wiki/Inspector_Rebus_Wiki

Rankin’s work can now be enjoyed in 36 languages and he’s won numerous literary awards and honorary degrees. He was awarded an OBE for services to literature in 2002.