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If you’re a fan of detective stories, Ian Rankin’s “Resurrection Men” should definitely make it onto your reading list. In this audiobook review, we will take a closer look at this thrilling novel, exploring its plot, characters, themes, writing style, and more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ian Rankin’s “Resurrection Men” is a must-read for fans of detective stories
  • The novel boasts a gripping plot filled with suspenseful twists and turns
  • The characters are well-developed and add depth to the story
  • Rankin’s writing style effectively creates a dark and engaging atmosphere
  • The audiobook narration enhances the overall experience for listeners

Overview of “Resurrection Men”

Published in 2001, “Resurrection Men” is a crime thriller novel written by Scottish author, Ian Rankin. The novel follows Inspector John Rebus, who must navigate the murky underworld of Edinburgh to solve a series of interconnected crimes that involve illegal organ trading, arson, and murder. Set against the bleak backdrop of Edinburgh’s working-class neighborhoods, the novel delves into the dark side of society, exploring themes of greed, corruption, and redemption.

The main characters of the novel include Inspector John Rebus, his partner Siobhan Clarke, gangster “Big Ger” Cafferty, and the book’s villain, Morris Gerald “Big Ger” Maguire. The story is set in urban Edinburgh, with the city’s streets and landmarks playing an essential role in the narrative. Combining a fast-paced plot with complex characters and a gritty atmosphere, “Resurrection Men” has become a hallmark of Rankin’s writing, cementing his reputation as one of the best crime fiction writers of his generation.

Key Themes

One of the central themes explored in “Resurrection Men” is the role of money in society. The novel portrays how greed and ambition can drive people to commit unthinkable crimes, highlighting the corrupting influence of wealth and power. Additionally, the book examines the human cost of illegal organ trading and how it exploits the vulnerability of the sick and dying, shedding light on the ethical dilemmas surrounding this practice.

The novel also deals with issues of justice and morality, exploring the blurred lines between right and wrong and how far one should go to achieve justice. The story challenges readers to question their own beliefs and values, raising questions that linger in the mind long after the final pages have been turned.

Plot Summary

“Resurrection Men” is a detective story set in Edinburgh, Scotland, featuring Inspector John Rebus. The plot begins with the murder of a former policeman, whose body is discovered in a tenement building. Rebus is assigned to the case, which leads him to uncover a network of corruption and crime.

As Rebus delves deeper into the investigation, he uncovers evidence of police corruption and links to organized crime. Soon, Rebus becomes a target himself, and he must solve the case before he becomes the next victim.

The novel’s plot is filled with twists and turns that keep readers engaged until the very end. The story comes to a climax as Rebus uncovers the mastermind behind the corruption and brings them to justice.

Overall, “Resurrection Men” delivers a thrilling and complex plot that keeps listeners on the edge of their seats. The character development, suspenseful pacing, and intricate plot make this audiobook a must-listen for fans of the detective genre.

Character Analysis

One of the many strengths of “Resurrection Men” lies in its well-crafted characters. Ian Rankin has a talent for creating multifaceted, realistic characters that readers can empathize with and root for.

The protagonist, Inspector John Rebus, is a compelling figure whose complexities drive the narrative. Over the course of the story, Rebus is forced to grapple with his personal demons, including his alcoholism and past mistakes, while also attempting to solve a complex crime involving a series of murders.

Other major characters include Rebus’s colleagues Siobhan Clarke and Brian Holmes, as well as a variety of suspects and witnesses who come under scrutiny throughout the investigation.

Rankin masterfully explores the motivations and personalities of each character, revealing their inner struggles and conflicts. Through these character analyses, readers gain insights into the ways in which each person’s choices and actions drive the plot towards its climactic conclusion.

Inspector John Rebus

Rebus is a brooding, complex character with a troubled past. He is depicted as an avid music fan and a lover of literature, but also as an angry, lonely individual with a tendency towards self-destructive behavior.

“Rebus had seen death and pain before. He had been part of it, too. But there was something about this particular case that grated on him, like a tune he couldn’t shake out of his head.”

As the story unfolds, we come to understand Rebus’s motivations and vulnerabilities. Through his interactions with other characters, we see the depth of his compassion and his fierce loyalty to his colleagues and friends.

Siobhan Clarke

Siobhan Clarke is one of Rebus’s colleagues, a bright and ambitious young detective with a sharp mind and a strong sense of justice. She provides a contrast to Rebus’s world-weary cynicism, and her relationships with Rebus and other characters reveal insights into their personalities and motivations.

Throughout the story, Clarke asserts her own voice and pushes back against the expectations of her male colleagues, earning their respect through her intelligence and persistence.

Brian Holmes

Brian Holmes is another of Rebus’s colleagues, a longtime friend and ally who serves as a foil to Rebus’s more pessimistic outlook. Holmes is depicted as a more optimistic and cheerful figure, who provides humor and emotional support to Rebus throughout the investigation.

Through his conversations with Rebus and Clarke, we gain insights into the dynamics of their working relationship and the reasons for their mutual respect and admiration.

  1. Inspector John Rebus is a complex character with a troubled past
  2. Siobhan Clarke is a bright and ambitious young detective with a strong sense of justice
  3. Brian Holmes is a longtime friend and ally who serves as a foil to Rebus’s more pessimistic outlook

Overall, “Resurrection Men” offers a rich and compelling cast of characters whose personalities drive the plot forward and keep readers engaged from start to finish.

Writing Style and Language

Ian Rankin’s writing style in “Resurrection Men” is characterized by masterful suspense, well-paced storytelling, and sharp dialogue that drives the action forward. The author’s use of language is especially noteworthy, as he incorporates both English and Scottish dialects into the narrative, giving the story an authentic sense of place.

Rankin’s ability to create tension through his writing is particularly impressive, as he builds suspense gradually, keeping readers guessing until the very end. Whether he’s crafting a gritty action scene or a quiet moment of introspection, the author’s attention to detail and measured pacing keep readers engaged throughout.

The dialogue in “Resurrection Men” is equally impressive, with each character’s voice distinct and authentic. Through their interactions, the book’s themes and conflicts are brought to life, making for a truly immersive reading experience.

“Rankin’s writing is crisp and precise, with just the right amount of description to draw readers into the story without slowing down the pace. His command of suspense and dialogue make for an engaging read that is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.”

Use of Dialect

One of the most notable aspects of Rankin’s writing in “Resurrection Men” is his use of dialect. The novel’s setting in Scotland is fully realized through the inclusion of Scottish slang and colloquialism, lending the story an air of authenticity that is hard to replicate.

This use of dialect also serves to create a sense of place, immersing readers in the world of the story and its characters. By incorporating these regionalisms into the dialogue, Rankin is able to bring a layer of depth to his characters’ personalities that might not be achievable through other means.

Overall, Rankin’s writing style and use of language in “Resurrection Men” are a testament to his skill as a storyteller. Through his well-crafted dialogue and measured pacing, he creates a compelling read that is sure to please fans of the detective genre.

Writing style and language

Setting and Atmosphere

The setting and atmosphere of “Resurrection Men” play a vital role in creating a vivid and immersive reading experience. Ian Rankin’s richly descriptive language brings to life the gritty streets of Edinburgh, Scotland, where the story takes place.

Readers are transported to the dark alleyways and run-down housing projects that form the backdrop for the novel’s criminal underworld. The city’s historic landmarks and distinctive architecture also feature prominently in the story and lend a sense of authenticity to the setting.

The atmospheric descriptions create a palpable sense of tension and danger that permeates every scene. As the story unfolds and the plot thickens, the stakes become ever higher, and the setting plays a crucial role in ramping up the tension.

“The alleys were dark and winding, and the streetlamps flickered intermittently, casting eerie shadows across the cobbled walkways.”

Rankin’s masterful use of language and imagery creates a sense of unease and foreboding that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. The setting and atmosphere contribute to the overall tone of the novel, which is both gritty and suspenseful.

Themes Explored

Throughout “Resurrection Men,” Ian Rankin explores various themes that shed light on the society, justice system, and human condition. One of the main themes explored in the novel is justice. As the plot unfolds, readers witness the complex and often problematic relationship between the police and the criminal underworld. Rankin challenges the notion of a straightforward binary between good and evil and instead delves into the grey areas where justice may not always be black and white.

Another prominent theme explored in “Resurrection Men” is morality. The characters in the novel grapple with ethical questions, and readers are left to ponder what is right and wrong. Rankin’s nuanced portrayal of morality adds depth to the story and elevates it from a simple whodunit to a compelling exploration of human nature.

The novel also touches on the nature of crime itself. Throughout the story, the characters engage in various criminal activities, from theft to murder. As the plot unfolds, Rankin offers insight into what drives individuals to commit crimes and how society can address this issue.

themes explored image

“Rankin challenges the notion of a straightforward binary between good and evil and instead delves into the grey areas where justice may not always be black and white.”

Audiobook Narration

One of the most critical elements of any audiobook is the narration. In the case of “Resurrection Men,” the narration by Michael Page is excellent. Page’s voice acting brings the characters to life, immersing listeners into the story and adding depth to each scene. Whether it’s capturing the gravitas of Detective Inspector John Rebus or the offbeat humor of forensic expert Dr. Curt, Page handles each character with skill and adds to the overall experience of listening to the audiobook.

Beyond his execution of character voices, Page’s pacing and tone throughout the audiobook is spot-on. He knows when to heighten his voice during moments of tension or excitement and when to slow down during moments of introspection or contemplation. His delivery is engaging and keeps listeners invested throughout the audiobook’s narrative.

In summary, Michael Page’s narration of “Resurrection Men” is exceptional. His voice acting skills and pacing add depth and enhance the overall listening experience. Fans of Ian Rankin’s work and audiobooks, in general, will not be disappointed with this particular audiobook offering.

Comparisons to Other Rankin Novels

If you are a fan of Ian Rankin’s work, you might be interested in how “Resurrection Men” compares to his other novels. We have put together a table detailing some key similarities and differences between “Resurrection Men” and some of Rankin’s other popular works:

“Resurrection Men” ranks alongside Rankin’s best work, comparing favorably with classics such as “Black and Blue” and “The Hanging Garden.”

As the comparison table above shows, “Resurrection Men” shares many similarities with Rankin’s other novels. For instance, all of the books feature complex, flawed characters that struggle with issues of morality and justice. However, each book also explores a unique set of themes and ideas.

“Black and Blue”

Like “Resurrection Men,” “Black and Blue” features Detective Inspector John Rebus as the protagonist. The book follows Rebus as he investigates a serial killer who targets young girls. Both novels are complex, character-driven stories that tackle themes of justice and morality. However, “Black and Blue” is set against the backdrop of the Scottish independence referendum, which adds a layer of political tension to the story.

“The Hanging Garden”

“The Hanging Garden” features Inspector Rebus as well, and it too explores issues of justice and morality. However, unlike “Resurrection Men,” the book is set in the past, during the Cold War. This gives the novel a unique atmosphere and allows Rankin to explore themes related to espionage and international relations.

“Let It Bleed”

Another Rankin novel that shares similarities with “Resurrection Men” is “Let It Bleed.” Like the former, “Let It Bleed” features Detective Inspector John Rebus as its protagonist and explores themes of corruption, justice, and morality. However, “Let It Bleed” is set against the backdrop of the music industry, giving the novel a unique tone and setting.

Overall, while “Resurrection Men” shares many similarities with Ian Rankin’s other novels, it offers a unique and compelling story that stands on its own. Whether you are a long-time fan of Rankin’s work or a newcomer to the genre, “Resurrection Men” is definitely worth a read.

Critical Reception

Since its release in 2002, “Resurrection Men” has received widely varied reviews from literary critics. While some lauded the novel as a riveting tale of crime and punishment, others found it lacking in comparison to other works by Ian Rankin.

“The plotting is a slow burn; the finish is white-hot. Rankin’s writing is taut, his dialogue sparkles”

– The Guardian

Other critics, however, took a more critical view of “Resurrection Men.”

“While the backdrop of political and cultural change is interesting, there’s a sense that the story has already been told, leaving this latest installment in need of fresh inspiration.”

– The New York Times Book Review

Despite these mixed reviews, “Resurrection Men” remains a fan favorite and an important addition to Rankin’s oeuvre.

Personal Recommendation

After thoroughly analyzing and assessing “Resurrection Men” by Ian Rankin, we are pleased to offer our personal recommendation. This audiobook is a must-listen for any fan of detective stories. Rankin’s masterful plotting, engaging characters, and vivid atmosphere all combine to create a truly captivating listening experience.

We especially recommend this audiobook to those who enjoy crime fiction with a strong dose of suspense and intrigue. The twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat, and the well-developed characters will leave you invested in their fates. Additionally, the narration by James Macpherson is expertly done, bringing the story to life through his skilled voice acting.

Overall, we highly recommend “Resurrection Men” to anyone looking for a thrilling and immersive listening experience. It’s an excellent addition to any audiobook collection and a standout example of Ian Rankin’s impressive body of work.


After a detailed analysis of “Resurrection Men” by Ian Rankin, we can confidently recommend this audiobook to fans of crime fiction and detective stories. The novel’s intricate plot, well-developed characters, and captivating atmosphere are sure to keep listeners engaged from start to finish.

The setting descriptions and use of language showcase Rankin’s strong writing style, and the audiobook narration brings the story to life. We also appreciate the themes explored in the novel, which provide a thought-provoking commentary on justice, morality, and the nature of crime.

While there are some similarities to Rankin’s other novels, “Resurrection Men” stands out for its unique storyline and twists. The critical reception of the book has also been positive, further cementing its worth as an audiobook to listen to.

If you’re looking for a thrilling audiobook that will keep you on the edge of your seat, “Resurrection Men” is definitely worth your time and investment.

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