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Black and Blue

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Black and Blue, the latest installment in Ian Rankin’s brilliant series featuring detective John Rebus, is the kind of blistering police procedural that gives the genre a good name. For years the hard-drinking Scottish inspector has been obsessed with a serial killer from the ’60s called Bible John. When a copycat murderer the press nicknames Bible Johnny emerges three decades later, Bible John — still at large — is enraged (such hubris!). Rebus doesn’t like it either. What results is an eerie, altogether absorbing competition between the two to track down the new killer. Rankin’s prose is so graceful, the complicated plot so seamless, and the portraits of even minor characters so searing, it makes for an almost flawless performance. A

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