Hide and Seek (Inspector John Rebus Series #2)

Hide and Seek (Inspector John Rebus Series #2)

by Ian Rankin


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At night the summer sky stays light over Edinburgh. But in a shadowy, crumbling housing development, a junkie lies dead of an overdose, his bruised body surrounded by signs of Satanic worship. Inspector Rebus could call the death and accident—but won't. Instead, he tracks down a violent-tempered young woman who knew the dead boy and heard him cry out his terrifying last words: "Hide! Hide!" Now, with the help of a bright, conflicted young detective, Rebus is following the girl through a brutal world of bad deals, bad dope and bad company. From a beautiful city's darkest side to the private sanctums of the upper crust, Rebus is seeking the perfect hiding place for a killer, in Hide and Seek, the second novel in the series from Ian Rankin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312536930
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 09/16/2008
Series: Inspector John Rebus Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 87,774
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ian Rankin is the worldwide #1 bestselling writer of the Inspector Rebus books, including Knots and Crosses, Let It Bleed, Black and Blue, Set in Darkness, Resurrection Men, A Question of Blood, The Falls and Exit Music. He is also the author of The Complaints and Doors Open. He has won an Edgar Award, a Gold Dagger for fiction, a Diamond Dagger for career excellence, and the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contributions to literature. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons.


Edinburgh, London and France

Date of Birth:

April 28, 1960

Place of Birth:

Cardenden, Scotland


Edinburgh University

Read an Excerpt


He was shrieking now, frantic, his face drained of all colour. She was at the top of the stairs, and he stumbled towards her, grabbing her by the arms, propelling her downstairs with unfocussed force, so that she feared they would both fall. She cried out.

‘Ronnie! Hide from who?’

‘Hide!’ he shrieked again. ‘Hide! They’re coming! They’re coming!’

He had pushed her all the way to the front door now. She’d seen him pretty strung out before, but never this bad. A fix would help him, she knew it would. And she knew, too, that he had the makings upstairs in his bedroom. The sweat trickled from his chilled rat’s-tails of hair. Only two minutes ago, the most important decision in her life had been whether or not to dare a trip to the squat’s seething lavatory. But now….

‘They’re coming,’ he repeated, his voice a whisper now. ‘Hide.’

‘Ronnie,’ she said, ‘you’re scaring me.’

He stared at her, his eyes seeming almost to recognise her. Then he looked away again, into a distance all of his own. The word was a snakelike hiss.

‘Hide.’ And with that he yanked open the door. It was raining outside, and she hesitated. But then fear took her, and she made to cross the threshold. But his hand grabbed at her arm, pulling her back inside. He embraced her, his sweat sea-salty, his body throbbing. His mouth was close to her ear, his breath hot.

‘They’ve murdered me,’ he said. Then with sudden ferocity he pushed her again, and this time she was outside, and the door was slamming shut, leaving him alone in the house. Alone with himself. She stood on the garden path, staring at the door, trying to decide whether to knock or not.

It wouldn’t make any difference. She knew that. So instead she started to cry. Her head slipped forward in a rare show of self-pity and she wept for a full minute, before, breathing hard three times, she turned and walked quickly down the garden path (such as it was). Someone would take her in. Someone would comfort her and take away the fear and dry her clothes.

Someone always did.

JOHN REBUS stared hard at the dish in front of him, oblivious to the conversation around the table, the background music, the flickering candles. He didn’t really care about house prices in Barnton, or the latest delicatessen to be opened in the Grassmarket. He didn’t much want to speak to the other guests—a female lecturer to his right, a male bookseller to his left—about… well, what ever they’d just been discussing. Yes, it was the perfect dinner party, the conversation as tangy as the starter course, and he was glad Rian had invited him. Of course he was. But the more he stared at the half lobster on his plate, the more an unfocussed despair grew within him. What had he in common with these people? Would they laugh if he told the story of the police alsatian and the severed head? No, they would not. They would smile politely, then bow their heads towards their plates, acknowledging that he was… well, different from them.

‘Vegetables, John?’

It was Rian’s voice, warning him that he was not ‘taking part’, was not ‘conversing’ or even looking interested. He accepted the large oval dish with a smile, but avoided her eyes.

She was a nice girl. Quite a stunner in an individual sort of way. Bright red hair, cut short and pageboyish. Eyes deep, striking green. Lips thin but promising. Oh yes, he liked her. He wouldn’t have accepted her invitation otherwise. He fished about in the dish for a piece of broccoli that wouldn’t break into a thousand pieces as he tried to manoeuvre it onto his plate.

‘Gorgeous food, Rian,’ said the bookseller, and Rian smiled, accepting the remark, her face reddening slightly. That was all it took, John. That was all you had to say to make this girl happy. But in his mouth he knew it would come out sounding sarcastic. His tone of voice was not something he could suddenly throw off like a piece of clothing. It was a part of him, nurtured over a course of years. So when the lecturer agreed with the bookseller, all John Rebus did was smile and nod, the smile too fixed, the nod going on a second or two too long, so that they were all looking at him again. The piece of broccoli snapped into two neat halves above his plate and splattered onto the tablecloth.

‘Shite!’ he said, knowing as the word escaped his lips that it was not quite appropriate, not quite the right word for the occasion. Well, what was he, a man or a thesaurus?

‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Couldn’t be helped,’ said Rian. My God, her voice was cold.

It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. He’d gone shopping on Saturday, ostensibly for a suit to wear tonight. But had baulked at the prices, and bought some books instead, one of which was intended as a gift to Rian: Doctor Zhivago. But then he’d decided he’d like to read it himself first, and so had brought flowers and chocolates instead, forgetting her aversion to lilies (had he known in the first place?) and the diet she was in the throes of starting. Damn. And to cap it all, he’d tried a new church this morning, another Church of Scotland offering, not too far from his flat. The last one he’d tried had seemed unbearably cold, promising nothing but sin and repentance, but this latest church had been the oppressive opposite: all love and joy and what was there to forgive anyway? So he’d sung the hymns, then buggered off, leaving the minister with a handshake at the door and a promise of future attendance.

‘More wine, John?’

This was the bookseller, proffering the bottle he’d brought himself. It wasn’t a bad little wine, actually, but the bookseller had talked about it with such unremitting pride that Rebus felt obliged to decline. The man frowned, but then was cheered to find this refusal left all the more for himself. He replenished his glass with vigour.

‘Cheers,’ he said.

The conversation returned to how busy Edinburgh seemed these days. Here was something with which Rebus could agree. This being the end of May, the tourists were almost in season. But there was more to it than that. If anyone had told him five years ago that in 1989 people would be emigrating north from the south of England to the Lothians, he’d have laughed out loud. Now it was fact, and a fit topic for the dinner table.

Later, much later, the couple having departed, Rebus helped Rian with the dishes.

‘What was wrong with you?’ she said, but all he could think about was the minister’s handshake, that confident grip which bespoke assurances of an afterlife.

‘Nothing,’ he said. ‘Let’s leave these till morning.’

Rian stared at the kitchen, counting the used pots, the half-eaten lobster carcasses, the wine glasses smudged with grease.

‘Okay,’ she said. ‘What did you have in mind instead?’

He raised his eyebrows slowly, then brought them down low over his eyes. His lips broadened into a smile which had about it a touch of the leer. She became coy.

‘Why, Inspector,’ she said. ‘Is that supposed to be some kind of a clue?’

‘Here’s another,’ he said, lunging at her, hugging her to him, his face buried in her neck. She squealed, clenched fists beating against his back.

‘Police brutality!’ she gasped. ‘Help! Police, help!’

‘Yes, madam?’ he inquired, carrying her by the waist out of the kitchen, towards where the bedroom and the end of the weekend waited in shadow.

LATE EVE NING at a building site on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The contract was for the construction of an office development. A fifteen-foot-high fence separated the works from the main road. The road, too, was of recent vintage, built to help ease traffic congestion around the city. Built so that commuters could travel easily from their countryside dwellings to jobs in the city centre.

There were no cars on the road to night. The only sound came from the slow chug-chugging of a cement mixer on the site. A man was feeding it spadefuls of grey sand and remembering the far distant days when he had laboured on a building site. Hard graft it had been, but honest.

Two other men stood above a deep pit, staring down into it. ‘Should do it,’ one said.

‘Yes,’ the other agreed. They began walking back to the car, an ageing purple Mercedes.

‘He must have some clout. I mean, to get us the keys to this place, to set all this up. Some clout.’

‘Ours is not to ask questions, you know that.’ The man who spoke was the oldest of the three, and the only Calvinist. He opened the car boot. Inside, the body of a frail teenager lay crumpled, obviously dead. His skin was the colour of pencil shading, darkest where the bruises lay.

‘What a waste,’ said the Calvinist.

‘Aye,’ the other agreed. Together they lifted the body from the boot, and carried it gently towards the hole. It dropped softly to the bottom, one leg wedging up against the sticky clay sides, a trouser leg slipping to show a naked ankle.

‘All right,’ the Calvinist said to the cement man. ‘Cover it, and let’s get out of here. I’m starving.’

Excerpted from Hide And Seek by IAN RANKIN.

Copyright © 1990 by Ian Rankin.

Published in 1990 by St. Martin’s Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Hide and Seek (Inspector John Rebus Series #2) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Years after watching the BBC produced "Rebus" programs on Masterpiece Mystery, I decided to read the books. The general gloomy overtone and wonderful use of the English language impart tales of the criminal side of life in a country that most people think of as tea-drinking, staid and proper. You encounter complicated mysteries as well as the complicated workings of a man trying to understand himself as a reflection of the heinous underground world of Edinburgh. Rankin is a master of the use of vernacular to set a tone and a "picture" of the people and landscape of the Fife area of Bonny Scotland. He's works are griping and difficult to put down. A must read in every mystery lover's library.
Anonymous 6 days ago
mahallett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i first read knots and crosses and couldn't understand how tis guy got published let alone famous. it was such a downer. knots and crosses was much better. rebus is still depressed and drinks too much but functions better. i liked the book better than the ending, but then i always do in mystries. the ending never seems to justify all the trouble.
Romonko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No one knows his city like John Rebus (Ian Rankin's detective). He knows all the good things and the things that tourists like to see, but he also knows the seedy and secretive things. These are things that occur in the hidden alleys and bolt holes throughout the city. In this book, even John Rebus is surprised at what he discovers when he starts to investigate a junkie's death. The man appeared to die of a drug overdose, but it turned out to be murder, and the investigation took Rebus to places he'd never been before. These books are extremely well-written, but they are hard-hitting and definitely darker than the average UK police procedural. But it kept my interest piqued, and I will certainly continue to read this excellent series.
-Eva- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading this second book in the series about Rebus, I am officially a fan. The plot is very suspenseful and the shady characters are extremely shady, although it's a great guessing-game which ones are and which ones aren't the baddies (and which ones are a bit of both). Rankin has a brilliant ear for dialogue and his characters are one-of-a-kind, not only in their personalities, but in their actions, their outlook, and their humor, which is my preference when it comes to stories - I can live with a hazy plot as long as the characters are as solid as they are here. The literary theme is even stronger in this installment too with a plot which parallels Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Edinburgh's dual nature (a real-life one, by the way) is developed even further.
marek2009 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Far, far better than the 1st Rebus novel. A compelling mystery about a dead smack addict & an underground boxing club.
Joybee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good book. A street kid is found dead, presumably of an over dose, in an abandoned building used as a squat. A pentagram is painted on the wall and the body is splayed between two candles. Could this be witch craft or satanism? The autopsy finds that the heroine the victim used was laced with rat poison,yet the heroine found at the scene was clean. Something does not sit right with Rebus, and he won't drop this case as an unfortunate accident. Why was the boy given poison, who wanted him dead, what did he know? The Rebus books are not fast reads, the action is slow and builds weaving an intricate plot. The endings can be kind of dark, and Rebus is slightly depressing, yet you really start to feel for him. A good series so far.
Darrol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A novel that justifies the Tartan Noir label. Still the ending is a little unsatisfactory.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second in the Detective Rebus series. Rebus has been promoted to Inspector.A dead junkie--looks like a straightforward case of overdose. But the discovery of the body becomes a baffling case with too many clues, too much information--leading nowhere.Another tightly written novel with excellent plotting and good characterization, with Edinburgh a distinctive background. Rankin's writing is superior.Highly recommended.
nakmeister on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rebus book 3A dead junkie is found in an Edinburgh squat, and no one sees the death as anything more than a drug overdose, everyone except Rebus. When no one else cares, Rebus takes an interest in the citizens of Edinburgh¿s underbelly, convinced that this was no simple accident¿I really enjoyed this Rebus book, and was hooked from very near the start! I've given it 8 out of 10, which is probably about right, though it's very difficult to individually rate a book that's part of a series, like the Rebus books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too many characters - lousy plot,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Second in the Rebus series and Rankin must have been pressured into slapping this ridiculous turkey together. Pass this one by.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is another great book by Ian Rankin. The book is set in Edinburgh, Scotland and has plenty of local detail. Rebus is a very well developed and very much three dimensional character. I am glad Ian Rankin has brought Rebus back in another book as he is too good a character to leave by the wayside.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WinnirJR More than 1 year ago
The Ian Rankin books, especially this one, are MUST READS! DI Rebus comes to life in the plots in which nothing is clear until the very end! It is difficult to believe that DI Rebus isn't a real cop!! I highly recommend you try this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TwistedWrister82 More than 1 year ago
Ian Rankin mixes the Scottish working class with an intense murder mystery novel in this teenage-occult novel. This book is extremely well done and I breezed thru it. I loved the references to the previous book "Knots and Crosses" as well as his subtle mix of humor. It's not overly violent or grusome. The chapters are a long and the book isn't broken up as easily as Knots and Crosses but the book is excellent. The second half of the book is especially good. I've become a big fan of Ian Rankin and his style of writing. I'm currently reading Tooth and Nail and I love how he continues to briefly mention the previous stories, which adds to character development. As the review reads on the back "You can't go wrong with Rankin"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having read most of the Inspector Rebus series, I chose to re-read the second installment of Ian Rankin's sensational creation. John Rebus early in his career is quite a treat, having just finished Exit Music, #17,the last in the Rebus canon. While investigating a suspicious death in an Edinburgh housing development, Rebus finds a junkie laying in an almost crucified position admist paraphernalia of Satanic worship. What looks like an apparant overdose to others only raises the suspicion of murder to Inspector Rebus. A killer runs and hides throught the city, of Edinburgh pursued by John Rebus who we see failing at much in his personal life. He toils with many things such as relationships, moral actions, and finding a new church but the reader quickly realizes that police work is John Rebus' soul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tennesseedog More than 1 year ago
Another good yarn by this well-respected British writer. His Inspector John Rebus is an interesting character with a hard-bitten exterior, quick with his wits, words and at times his fists, all packaged up with a very human center. The locale is Edinburgh, Scotland as absorbing a geographical place as the more familiar Oxford town in England. Here the Inspector deals with a mysterious murder with hints of satanism but ends with something more horrific and more timely. The story presents our world as we might easily recognize it and that is the connection which makes this work fun to read. Try the series out and you will enjoy the ride.