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Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

Knots and Crosses (original 1987; edition 2005)

by Ian Rankin

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2,428892,552 (3.56)175
Title:Knots and Crosses
Authors:Ian Rankin
Info:Orion Paperbacks (2005) Kindle Edition
Collections:Your library
Tags:Kindle, Fiction, Genre Fiction, Mystery, Scottish Literature

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Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin (1987)


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Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
It's always interesting to see if the author of a new (to me) mystery series and his or her detective strike a chord with me. In the case of Rankin's John Rebus, the answer is a qualified yes, and I'll try another book or two to decide. Rebus is a detective in a police station and there is a lot of police back and forth. In addition, while it relates to the plot, there is an awful lot of background information about Rebus's time in the army and particularly in the special forces. The plot involves a serial killer who is abducting young girls, murdering them (but not sexually abusing them), and dumping their bodies in public spaces. Additionally, Rebus is getting mysterious and creepy anonymous letters with knots in them, and later crosses. There is a brother who is a hypnotist like their father and a journalist who suspects the brother of dealing drugs and Rebus of being corrupt and in league with him. There is also a romantic interest. Eventually, Rebus's daughter, who lives with his divorced wife, is abducted and attention turns to Rebus and his past life. As I noted above, the jury is out on Rankin and Rebus, but will continue the series, at least for a while.
1 vote rebeccanyc | May 22, 2016 |
This is the first in the Inspector Rebus series. I've read and enjoyed several of the later books in the series (including those at the very end), and thought I'd go back and start at the beginning. I wasn't terribly impressed with the debut, and if this had been the first Rebus I read I might not have continued with the series. The case involves a serial killer and Rebus receiving anonymous letters with knots and crosses in them. He comes across as rather dense not to make the connections with his past that the reader can make fairly quickly. In addition there's not a whole lot of police procedures going on. So, on the whole I found this a rather mediocre read. Although overall I recommend the Rebus series, I'd recommend this book in particular only for completeists.

2 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 8, 2016 |
I've never read any Ian Rankin before, but I liked this! I especially liked John Rebus - an old-school British smoking, drinking, book-loving, slightly unstable detective - and the way Edinburgh became a character in its own right, from the bright touristy areas right down to the sleaziest bars and most dangerous neighbourhoods. The story itself wasn't the height of excitement, but it was only the first in a very successful series so I think I'll read on, see where the characters go from here. ( )
  elliepotten | Apr 1, 2016 |
This book dates from the 1980s and is the first in the series. It has a slower pace than more modern crime and thriller novels. There is no gore, which I preferred. The crime action is important but it's off scene and the impact on the characters is the most important element - I liked that too.
For me, Rankin writes in an almost literary style. Sometimes, it even sounds poetic in the way he describes a moody, dark Edinburgh and the underground crime and drugs scene that underpins the city.
Most of the novel concerns itself with delving into the mind of detective Rebus as he investigates the abduction of girls in the city, and the police fail again and again to make headway in a case that seems to be targeting Rebus.
Rebus is moody too, and sarcastic, prone to rub people up the wrong way, not a lover of authority. His mysterious past in the army is something he keeps secret. He has a dry sense of humour and he has severe weaknesses - which form the backbone of the plot.
I'm not sure why I didn't feel like giving it 5 stars - maybe the focus was just a little bit too much inside Rebus' not-very-healthy head? Anyways, it was a satisfying read and I put the book down having felt I'd lived in his world for a while. I think that's what gives Rankin his mastery. ( )
  AnnGirdharry | Mar 30, 2016 |
This is my first Ian Rankin book and it was one of his first as well, I think. I was hooked early on by the main character, John Rebus. There is a past that has flawed him and he struggles with it. There is an intro written by Rankin in 2005 which was worth getting the book in itself. I think if you read this book you'll want more of the Inspector Rebus series and there seems to be plenty of it. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Feb 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
Note from Kirkus' Vintage Review Editor:
In 1987 author Ian Rankin introduced Edinburgh, Scotland police detective John Rebus in his first novel, Knots and Crosses. Kirkus awarded the novel a starred review and encouraged our readers to carefully watch this newcomer. For the following 20 years, Rankin treated his loyal readers to a Rebus mystery every year or two until he retired him in 2006 in the excellent novel, Exit Music. As Rankin is bringing Rebus back in his new novel Standing in Another Man’s Grave, we remind you what we thought about Rankin’s first go-round with Rebus. — January 21, 2013

A compelling first novel sent in Edinburgh, where a series of killings of young girls has the city in a panic. Ex-army police detective John Rebus is in the thick of the investigation. Scarred by his elite-corps army training, a nervous breakdown and a divorce, father of teen-age Samantha, Rebus is a dogged but not too sharp investigator. The anonymous letters he starts to receive after the first murder are shrugged off as the work of a crank; he never questions the affluence of his rarely seen hypnotist brother Michael; and he never figures out the one factor common to all the victims. In the meantime, his girlfriend Gill Templet, a press liason policewoman, and hard-bitten, hard-drinking reporter Jim Stevens are smarter. It slowly becomes clear that the killer's focus is Rebus himself, who must finally confront an implacable enemy and hie own long-repressed traumatic memories. Solidly drawn characters, keen psychological insights and an intriguing, well-knit plot--along with a rather florid but individual writing style--make Rankin a newcomer to watch.
added by VivienneR | editKirkus Reviews
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312956738, Mass Market Paperback)

Detective John Rebus: His city is being terrorized by a baffling series of murders...and he's tied to a maniac by an invisible knot of blood. Once John Rebus served in Britain's elite SAS. Now he's an Edinburgh cop who hides from his memories, misses promotions and ignores a series of crank letters. But as the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind. Because he isn't just one cop trying to catch a killer, he's the man who's got all the pieces to the puzzle...

Knots and Crosses introduces a gifted mystery novelist, a fascinating locale and the most compellingly complex detective hero at work today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

While investigating a series of gory killings of young, innocent girls, Edinburgh police detective John Rebus, a former member of Britain's elite SAS, discovers his own ties to the killer and is brought up against his own memories, which hold the key to unraveling the case.… (more)

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