• The Black Book

  • An Inspector Rebus Novel, Book 5
  • By: Ian Rankin
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (232 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Five years ago, a mysterious fire burned Edinburgh’s seedy Central Hotel to ashes. Long-forgotten and unsolved, the case reappears when a charred body - with a bullet in its head - is found among the ruins. Inspector John Rebus knows that his superiors would prefer he leave things alone. He knows that part of the answer lies somewhere in a cryptic black notebook. And he knows that to solve the case, he’ll have to peel back layer after layer of unspeakable secrets in order to arrive at the truth.

©1993 Ian Rankin (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Black Book

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Rebus really gels here

If you are interested in Rebus but not attracted to the whole series, this might be your entry point.

I am rereading/listening to Rebus, in order this time since the unabridged audio of all is now available in my region. This seems to be the novel where Rebus becomes that character some of us love so much, fascist though he can be. Though I usually prefer lighter crime novels with justice for all, Rankin created my favourite detective of all time here.

Michael Page is NOT a favourite narrator of mine so I delayed listening to a couple of his Rankin novel narrations, but he's OK for Rebus - more restrained than in other novels, but he still goes too gruff to distinguish some male characters (less shrill for women than he can be). However, James MacPherson became the voice of Rebus to me, so I feel something missing with Page and others - if MacPherson versions are available to you, get them if you can understand a delightful Scots accent. But skip the abridgements, even with that narrator --they make little sense because too much plot and character is skipped (not to mention setting, a real star of the series' later novels).

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite but still good

Not my favorite Rebus story but the writing is so excellent that it overcomes a weaker (in my opinion) story. Rebus is a fabulous character but I got confused by all the other characters in this book. I think that's the one drawback with listening to an audiobook, one can't go back and see the previous paragraphs very easily.

This narration was great. Michael Page is one of my favorites.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

decent but not great

I always hope for a new mystery series to start listening to. This one did not make me want to try more in the series. I did finish the book

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

another good book in the series

an interesting plot with lots of twists and turns and a overall good performance it's always so hard to differentiate all the accidents well worth to listen

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ghastly performance

The story is gripping, as usual, but the narration is awful! It’s clear that the narrator has never been near Edinburgh as he continually mispronounces areas of the city. My advice? Skip the audio and buy the book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Shocking pronounciation

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Partly - the story was good - the pronunciation of names and places was terrible.

What other book might you compare The Black Book to and why?

Other Rankin / Rebus books narrated by James Mcpherson

What didn’t you like about Michael Page’s performance?

Bad preparation of pronunciation of names and places

Did The Black Book inspire you to do anything?

Write this negative review

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I love Rebus readings

I read an Inspector Rebus novel and, while I enjoyed it, I didn't really get into the characters until I listened to one of the books performed. The readings made all of the Scots come alive!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

My First Rebus. . . and I'll Try Another

Good storyline for those who enjoy detective/police procedurals; although Rebus is a rebel and doesn't always follow procedure. Interesting plot and subplots, though I found it difficult to really "care" about most of the characters in the story. At the end, I wasn't so interested in the outcome as I should have been, but still, a solid mystery!