• A Song for the Dark Times

  • By: Ian Rankin
  • Narrated by: James Macpherson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the iconic Number One best seller Ian Rankin, comes one of the must-listen audiobooks of the year: A Song for the Dark Times.

"He's gone..."

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it's not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst - and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn't the best father - the job always came first - but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?

As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast - and a small town with big secrets - he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn't want to find....

©2020 Ian Rankin (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"Ian Rankin is a genius." (Lee Child)

"A master storyteller." (Guardian)

"Rebus is one of British crime writing's greatest characters: alongside Holmes, Poirot and Morse." (Daily Mail)

What listeners say about A Song for the Dark Times

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Way too much family angst.

I usually enjoy this series very much. But I found this one tedious and simply not up Rankin's usual.
Rebus he is called by his daughter to request his help and then she treats him like garbage when he's trying to help her, she runs a litany of all his wrongs. And the then considerable family squabbling overtakes the mystery itself.
irritating at its best, and a lackluster story at its worst. The most authentic character is Rebus himself as he actually continues to be who he really is.

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  • papapownall
  • 10-05-20

Will make more sense to those with prior knowledge

I read recently the extraordinary statistic that books by Ian Rankin represent 10% of all crime fiction read in the UK. I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about and plumped for this, his latest work. It is, apparently, the 23rd book in the Inspector Rebus series. Having not read any of the previous stories or seen the TV shows it felt like I was joining a party when everyone knew each other or watching a long running TV soap that I have never seen before.
It took me a while to work out who the characters were and I needed some help from the internet for this as ,for example, I would not have known that Samantha is Rebus' daughter otherwise. This made it all a bit hard going and although the story of a wealthy student being murdered and a missing person was well done and came together nicely in the end, it made me wonder whether I would have been better advised to start with one of the earlier books in the series.

22 people found this helpful

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  • swimmerpaul
  • 10-09-20

Depressing

This is one book too many for Rebus it's depressing to read about an ex-policeman in old age with health problems just making a nuisance of himself he used to be edgy now he is just doddery sad to see a great detective hanging on where he can't even manage the stairs in his flat.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Robert Maclachlan
  • 10-09-20

Excellent return for the old dogged Rebus

I was always concerned Rebus had been retired too early and I’m pleased to see he’s still alive and kicking (just!)

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-07-20

A Rebus Masterpiece

So wonderful to meet up with the irascible old detective again, still up to his old tricks and determined to catch his man. He may be getting older but his hunt for the truth keeps him at the top of his game. Loved it

6 people found this helpful

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  • K. Terrell
  • 10-28-20

Good return for Rebus

All the familiar characters and a multi layered story, classic Rebus and a great listen.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • the typist
  • 10-06-20

Not sure what all the fuss is about...

I really wanted to like this book. I’ve been recommended several books by the author and of course know how hugely successful this particular series is. However, what I found was a very laboured and uninteresting story, with bland characters and a very obvious outcome. I’m not sure where all the reviewers got the idea that there was some sort of biting take on modern life here. Just mentioning Brexit a few times does not make for insightful social commentary. I won’t be going back to this author, though I doubt he will lose any sleep over it!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-19-21

Unlistenable

Possibly the worst narration I have heard. Who told James Macpherson to make Siobhan sound like a Granny. Just awful.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Balcombe
  • 10-08-20

Time to go

Let's face it. There comes a time in every long serving literary character's life to be presented with a cozy armchair; be asked to put his feet up and allow the cold autumnal winds to blow away his well worn reminiscences of summer. Such a time has arrived for Rebus. Winter is just around the corner and his life of crime fighting has long past. His legacy will be best served far away from tired and formulaic fiction.
John Rebus RIP

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sadie
  • 10-06-20

Brilliant

Perfect narration by James Macpherson, he brings the book and characters to life.

Rebus' dogged determination to find the truth continues especially as the case involves his daughter, not allowing his age or no longer being a serving police officer stop him.

One of the better Rebus books.



1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-14-22

Just excellent

Good plot, well delivered
Another rebus character development plot, lots to enjoy and keep your interest high.

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  • Kirsty
  • 10-04-20

Another Rebus Masterpiece

Two intertwined stories bring Rebus, Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox back into our lives, not to mentiom Big Ger and Christine Essen. Rebus is in better health than during his last two or three outings which is wonderful. The plots are engrossing - well, of course they are, and the team of Rankin and Macpherson bring the various characters to life admirably.

4 people found this helpful

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  • alan riles
  • 11-09-20

The valedictory that Exit Music was not!!

A masterpiece indeed and seems to be the valedictory to Rebus that Exit Music did not turn out to be.
Set on a broad canvas from Edinburgh to the North Sutherland flow country around Tongue and involving all the main characters from the series, Rebus and Siobhan of course, Cafferty, and Malcolm Fox.
Double plot a little reminiscent in fact of Exit Music, with a domestic element (Rebus' daughter) and foreign money again but this time with a very long reach of the past through a WW2 internment camp.
A sense of closure for the characters (is this really the last Rebus?) except perhaps for Siobhan so maybe in her lies the continuity? Sad if this is the last Rebus but I actually think it is probably time.
Regardless, Ian Rankin continues to excel and I look forward to wherever the muse next takes him!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-20

Rebus, he always gets his man.

I loved this book. Now of course I'm waiting for the next installment. Thanks in advance Mr. Rankin.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • elizabeth b.
  • 10-28-20

So confusing

This book I’ve tried to read twice and I realise it’s just not for me. I usually like rebus but this went back and forth between two stories. I really didn’t care about anyone just wanted it to be over.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-21

Great new listen from my favourite crime writer

Characters have developed well and progressed as people normally would have in life. interesting twist to see Rebus in a difficult role with his work and family life intersecting.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-22-21

two stories

Two stories with a tenuous link. confusing at times and padded out. Not his best.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-26-21

listenable

Found it an ok story not the best book I have listened to Maybe because the last 2 were above average. Storyline and narration both fine

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  • M.
  • 06-14-21

Perfect as ever

Combination of Rankin’s pros and MacPherson’s narration up to the usual standard of creating incredible characters and placing the in well created places and situations
Please don’t let Rebus die for many more books to come

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-17-20

He will never let it lie

Sammys in strife. Rebus can’t let anything go. Nice to see Big Ger Siobhan and Fox all blended in well.