Book review: Doors Open by Ian Rankin

Doors Open by Ian RankinWell yes, I have loved the Rebus stories and the wonderful descriptions and depictions of Edinburgh as a character in the Ian Rankin novels. Although he is a curmudgeon of the highest order, there’s still huge humanity lurking beneath the Rebus exterior.

There’s depth of experience of life, there are the wrinkles of bad experiences and bad decisions, plus there are the friends and colleagues, loyal or not, who surround the Rebus plots with lightness or darkness — and all knit together into profoundly satisfying novels.

With Doors Open Rankin introduced a bunch of new characters and surrounded them with the Edinburgh personality with his usual acumen. The streets, buildings, climate and atmosphere are as alive as always. The characters, not so much — in fact hardly at all — and that was a disappointing surprise.

There’s the super-rich almost-playboy who’s the main character. Yet he wanders all over the place, part intelligent, part dumb, with suggestions of criminal background that has been lost, forgotten? There’s the great mate, a pretty rich banker. There’s the art professor, loosely drawn and unbelievable in most respects. Then the main lady, and is that passion or maybe love at a distance? Then the silly girl. And the badly drawn crime boss, who’s cardboard depiction is seriously outweighed by the triple-strength-cardboard thug, aka Viking can you believe?

And the plot plods along, with heaps of tell and little show. Which is all wrapped up with explanations at the end. Oh, and the happily-ever-after Mills and Boon ending between Mr Rich and his Main Lady. All of which followed a series of scenes that appear written for a low-grade TV soap or, save us, for a Z-grade movie. In short, a great disappointment for this reader.