A sneak preview of the beginning of Rather be the Devil!

Find out how the newest Rebus novel begins

We’re counting down to the publication of the new Ian Rankin novel which is released in hardback, ebook and audio on 3rd November in the UK. Yes, Rebus may be off the force, but that doesn’t mean he’s not on the case and fans have a treat in store with Rather be the Devil. As a teaser to whet your appetite still further, we’re releasing the first lines of the book on Tuesday (18 October), followed by the first full page Wednesday, and then all of the first chapter on Thursday, with an audio clip on Friday.

In Rather be the Devil, there are new crimes, and old enemies, as Rebus investigates an unsolved death that’s always preyed on his mind. And young pretender Darryl Christie may have staked his claim to the dark heart of Edinburgh. But Rebus’s nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty, isn’t going to give up his position that easily. . .

[Drumroll] Here’s the first line:

Rebus placed his knife and fork on the empty plate, then leaned back in his chair, studying the other diners in the restaurant.
‘Someone was murdered here, you know,’ he announced.

So, for all Rebus fans, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s business as usual. He’s not discussing the weather or the joys of the Edinburgh Festival. Is the mention of a murder this early in a Rebus book a record?! But, as you’ll see in our exclusive first extract, he does still have a few surprises up his sleeve. . .

So here it is, the first page in full

Rebus placed his knife and fork on the empty plate, then leaned back in his chair, studying the other diners in the restaurant.
‘Someone was murdered here, you know,’ he announced.
‘And they say romance is dead.’ Deborah Quant paused over her steak. Rebus had been about to comment that she carved it with the same care she took when using her scalpel on a cadaver. But then the murder had popped into his head and he’d considered it the better conversational gambit.
‘Sorry,’ he apologised, taking a sip of red wine. They sold beer here – he had seen waiters delivering it to a few of the tables – but he was trying to cut down.
A new start – it was why they were dining out in the first place, celebrating a week without cigarettes.
Seven whole days.
A hundred and sixty-eight hours.
(She didn’t need to know about the one he’d begged from a smoker outside an office block three days back. It had made him feel queasy anyway.)
‘You can taste the food better, can’t you?’ she asked now, not for the first time.
‘Oh aye,’ he acknowledged, stifling a cough.
She seemed to have given up on the steak and was dabbing her mouth with her napkin. They were in the Galvin Brasserie Deluxe, which was attached to the Caledonian Hotel – though these days it was really the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian. But those who’d grown up in Edinburgh knew it as the Caledonian, or ‘the Caley’. In the bar before dinner, Rebus had reeled off a few stories – the railway station next door, dismantled in the sixties; the time Roy Rogers had steered his horse Trigger up the main staircase for a photographer.
Quant had listened dutifully, before telling him he could undo the top button of his shirt. He had been running a finger around the inside of the collar, trying to stretch the material a little.

You can’t let go…

What’s the unsolved murder case that Rebus remembered over dinner? Read the exclusive first chapter of Rather be the Devil to find out>>

You can pre-order the book now – and if you’re a Cafferty fan, then the Waterstone’s edition has an exclusive short story featuring the big man.