three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
46-May-June-2010
By: 
Ian Rankin
user_rating: 
0

A-Doors OpenScottish author Ian Rankin is best known for his long-running Inspector Rebus mysteries. One of the United Kingdom's most popular writers, Rankin is also the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards and a 2004 Edgar Award. Doors Open, which was serialized in the New York Times in 2007, is a stand-alone thriller.

The Story: In Edinburgh, Scotland, crime and monotony pose a dangerous combination. Software entrepreneur Mike Mackenzie, banker Allan Cruikshank, and art professor Robert Gissing are successful, respected men. But, having accomplished what they set out to do with their lives, they each exist in a state of vague dissatisfaction. When Gissing, appalled at the thought of art treasures from the National Gallery languishing in a warehouse, suggests "liberating" the art, the heist provides the men with a sense of purpose and adventure. Unfortunately, their plans start to unravel in spectacular fashion.
Reagan Arthur Books. 368 pages. $24.99. ISBN: 9780316024785

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram 4 of 5 Stars
" Pretty much everything a reader could want in such an entertainment." Tim Madigan

Guardian (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"What Rankin has done is to free himself from the detail and murk that a Rebus devotee would expect, and to plunge into pure, fast storytelling. ... I will give nothing away--except to say that for anyone toying with the idea of crime as a form of boredom therapy, this story is not, on balance, an encouragement." Andrew Marr

Scotsman 4 of 5 Stars
"But even without his most famous creation [Rebus] Rankin delivers a rattling, smart yarn. ... Perhaps it's a fossil remnant of the serial form, but some of the cadenzas on Edinburgh--the differences between the Old Town and the New, a mention of Jekyll and Hyde, the Trainspotting Tour in gentrified Leith--would probably appeal more to a first-time Rankin reader." Stuart Kelly

NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars
"[C]oolly executed. ... [T]he midlife career crisis theme--which applies just as neatly to other key conspirators in the art fraud, as well as the two rival detectives fighting over the case--adds a piquant touch to the usual genre conventions." Marilyn Stasio

Telegraph (UK) 2 of 5 Stars
"[S]ome implausibility can be forgiven, but it is irritating that the tyro thieves seem to spend only about five minutes working out their plan and barely acknowledge the risk of being caught. ... Nasty violence towards the end is as welcome as a shot of Bourbon in a cappuccino, preventing the thing from being frothily forgettable." Jake Kerridge

Critical Summary

Exit Music ( 4 of 5 Stars Nov/Dec 2008) was reputedly Rankin's last novel to feature Detective Inspector John Rebus, and it appears that may be the case. Yet, while many authors--and readers--have difficulty adjusting after a highly successful series, Rankin does not. With style and verve, he plunges pen first into a winning tale about the perils of too much free time. Critics found the Scottish art world a unique setting and enjoyed the book's biting humor and roller-coaster plotting. But be advised: Doors Open is not an Inspector Rebus readalike, and longtime fans may be disconcerted to find nothing familiar except for the Edinburgh backdrop. However, Doors Open will appeal to those who take pleasure in far-flung settings and clever crime capers.