Doors Open, by Ian Rankin – Book Review

I think it was this series, 5 Paintings in Edinburgh That Might Make Ian Rankin Pull Off A Heist,  on the Reagan Arthur Books Blog that finally pushed me to track down a copy of his book and give it to read.  Though normally not a seasonal reader,  late summer and fall have seem me gravitate toward classic scary tales and mysteries.

Summing up Doors Open is relatively easy.  Three unlikely art thieves and friends -a bored wealthy former computer guy, banker, and art professor- decide to “liberate” some unfortunate paintings whose beauty the world never gets to experience because they are locked away from the public in vaults.  Their premise for doing good with these thefts is so super flimsy that I have no idea how even they  themselves found it plausible.  Get real guys, you were just bored and greedy. If you steal the paintings and agree to never show them to anyone or to never let them surface on the open market, no one else gets a chance to see them anyway!  Little do they know that a chance rekindled acquaintance of one of their group has already put them in the sights of an Inspector determined to bring down a criminal enterprise.

Doors Open is an interesting choice for  me because it’s basically a heist/detective novel with strong elements of the mysterious at play, but it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed and was entertained by. Rankin starts the book with a scene that leaves you with no doubt that everything has already gone terribly wrong- lives are at stake. I spent all my time wondering how it had gotten to that point and of course how the situation would resolve itself, favorably, for the characters I had come to care about. And care about them I did, in spite of the fact that we have already established them as delusional, greedy and needing to go to jail.  Alas, I didn’t want that for all of them initially.

Rankin does a good job of exploring how the men take to their walk on the wild side.  One becomes flush with the type of power that he has never experienced but has secretly coveted, while another realizes that he has quite probably bitten off more than he can chew.  As they changed my feelings for them became more mixed, but still I didn’t want all of them to go to jail!  Bad me.  I did feel a little for the Inspector chasing them, but there was also something a little unsavory about him whether he was trying to do the right thing or not.

Ian Rankin is widely known for his Inspector Rebus series, which I am glad that I haven’t read, yet! I got to enjoy this standalone without having any pesky comparisons to make or feelings of disappointment over it falling short of anything that I was used to. I wasn’t terribly surprised by anything that happened here, but I enjoyed it all the same.

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  1. I’ve never heard of this one before. I’m always happy to put a new book on my list! I think this is one I would enjoy since it not only has the mystery element but it sounds like you can invest in and care about the characters too.

  2. I never read crime/heist/etc. type books which is strange since White Collar, Leverage, et. al. are some of my favorite television shows. 🙂

  3. I haven’t read anything by Ian Rankin yet but I’ve read a few reviews of his books which are often featured on blogs in the book community. I mistakenly thought he only wrote series so I was happy to read in your review that this is a stand-alone book. I’m not a big fan of series but when I start one, often unaware, I’m compelled to read the other books in the series! lol This sounds like a captivating read that keeps your interest and moves along at a good pace. I like books like this especially when I’m read an intense and/or lengthy book.

    Thanks for a great review and a book for my tbr list!
    ~ Amy

  4. Ooh! Having just read and enjoyed Dennis Lehane’s newest, I might be up for another mystery soon. This one sounds like something I could do. I don’t like murder mysteries and kidnappings, but heist/detective I think I can handle!

  5. I don’t know, anything with Art in it premise, and I steer clear of it. I have no clue where this fear came from and when. It is silly, but I cannot get over it.

    Anyway, this does sound good, but I don’t understand, like you, what stealing will help anyway. It is for money of course.

    Good review. I have not read anything by this author before.

  6. I haven’t read a heist type book in ages but this does sound good. I’ve never read the Inspector Rebus series but I did watch to first TV series (I’ll admit an ever so slight, massive crush on John Hannah, who played the lead) and enjoyed the series. I’ve been thinking I need to read a mystery soon, maybe this is the one.

    And thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. Oh, by the way I love your blog name. My daughter and I have had many discussions about the wonders of Linus’s Blanket and I smile every time I see your blog name.

  7. I’ve been really getting into mysteries this year, so Rankin is high on my list of authors to try. I’m glad you brought this novel to my attention, as I’m more inclined to start with a stand-alone than with a book belonging to a long series.