In A House of Lies… really a number one?

Okay, I understand that Ian Rankin can write crime. That much is obvious. But In A House of Lies has been coined a ‘thriller’, and honestly, the first half of the novel is about as thrilling as my Monday evenings. Rankin takes a lot of time setting the scene with so many different characters, both from Rebus’ past and quite a few new faces, which ultimately leads to too many threads leading to the investigation. In A House of Lies by Ian Rankin is out now from Orion Books. My rating: 2.5*.

The story
Simply put, a body has been uncovered of a man who went missing more than a decade ago. There are handcuffs around his ankles, so everybody is a suspect, including the police who worked the missing persons case way back when. So, of course Rebus knows all about it. He trots up, bringing a few nearly forgotten characters from the series with him and offers vague clues and gets in the way right until the end. Clarke and Fox and a myriad of other police ranking at varying levels of seniority band together to discover the truth. But will they get to the bottom of it?

What I thought…
In A House of Lies by Ian Rankin is not a thriller. It is a crime novel with a thousand police, members of authority and everybody is stepping on one another’s toes to hide the truth, or to discover it. There are far too many characters, old and new, making this book difficult to follow and enjoy. Also, now that Rankin has clearly exhausted his interest in Rebus as a main character, I believe that he should move on to and stick with his new detectives, or create a new series in a new setting where it isn’t convenient for Rebus to stick his nose in wherever it suits him.
While I agree that Rankin can definitely write and tell a story, it was a struggle to get through this book. I didn’t get to enjoy a fast-paced, thrilling who-dunnit, or simply even the police procedures of interviews and searching for evidence, as I was far too busy trying to keep track of who was who and what their role was in the narrative. I believe that Rebus is a dead-weight character, and it is time for him and his huge series to be left on the shelf so that a new protagonist can be formed in Rankin’s mind.

Overall, I found In A House of Lies to be quite disappointing. I would recommend this book only to die-hard Rankin/Rebus fans, as new readers would not know the characters or the history which has made this story possible. Thank you to NetGalley and Orion for my advance e-copy of In A House of Lies by Ian Rankin in exchange for an honest review.

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