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Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

Knots and Crosses (original 1987; edition 2005)

by Ian Rankin

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2,306762,752 (3.56)156
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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English (69)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
This book wasn't bad, really, but it had a few plot issues that I found rather annoying.

(Warning: Minor/Vague spoilers)

Firstly, the fact that it takes so long for Rebus to figure out that he's connected to the book's apparent serial killer is pretty annoying, especially when it basically says as much in the blurb for the book; there's also the fact that his cluelessness doesn't really lend to him being a good detective.

Secondly, while the backstory was horrifying, definitely, and could have played very well into the main present-day plot, the fact that "repressed memories" were invoked to up the suspense level had me rolling my eyes. I hate when that's used as an excuse for characters not remembering case-breaking information.

Third, after piddling along for about 80% of the book without anything extremely exciting happening, all the action is jam-packed into a couple of fast-paced climax chapters that wrap up too easily for my taste. The ending was also really abrupt -- like it ends with basically a summary paragraph of what happened after a cliffhanger of a second-to-last chapter.

Overall, this was okay, but I think it could have been much better.

3/5 ( )
  TherinKnite | Jun 28, 2015 |
Edinburgh, Scotland, had a reputation as a small, quiet town that attracted tourists during the season and not much else the rest of the time. Suddenly, it became the location for a series of kidnappings and murders of school girls. Detective John Rebus began receiving anonymous letters with each death. Each letter had a cryptic clue which totally befuddled him. They were delivered (not mailed) to his home and office, letting him know that the writer knew who he was and where he was.
Rebus had served in the Special Forces for a short time. He left following a nervous breakdown. He was divorced and not close with his twelve-year-old daughter or his younger brother who was, among other things, a hypnotist.
As the kidnappings and murders continued, he began to wonder what connection he had with the perpetrator.
KNOTS AND CROSSES, the first in a series, begins rather leisurely. By the end, after his past catches up with him, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The characters are interesting, though they do spend a lot of time drinking and bedding, and the language flows.
Unfortunately, to many of the chapters are unnecessarily short which always makes me lower my rating one star. ( )
  Judiex | Jun 15, 2015 |
This is the first in the Inspector Rebus series which was published in 1987. Here we are almost 30 years later and Rankin is still producing top notch detective novels and the Rebus canon has hit 20. This first book reveals a lot about John Rebus and explains quite a bit about how his life turned out.Rebus has been on the force 15 years and is in his forties. His wife has left him and he only sees his daughter, Samantha, once a week. He is smoking and drinking too much. He is estranged from his only blood relative, his brother Michael, who followed their father into a career as a hypnotist. Prior to joining the police force Rebus was in the army. He was a good soldier and he volunteered to join the SAS. He excelled there and should have gone on to big things but something happened and he left. Rebus doesn’t remember, at least not consciously, what happened but he occasionally has flashbacks.The Edinburgh police are dealing with two kidnappings of young girls and Rebus has been assigned to the task force. Then the bodies of the girls are discovered and it looks as though there is a serial killer. At the same time Rebus is receiving anonymous letters. Some of the letters contain a piece of string with a knot and some contain two matches tied together in a cross. The press liaison officer for the task force is Gill Templar. Gill and Rebus meet at a party and spend the night together. As the task force heats up there is no time for a repeat but they are certainly both interested.As a reader of all of the Rebus books since number 13, The Falls, I find it fascinating to learn some of the basics about Rebus. One thing that surprised me was that Rebus is portrayed in this book as someone who believes in God although he has not joined a particular church. I don’t recall that there is any discussion of faith in the later books. I’ll be interested to see how this develops. ( )
  gypsysmom | Apr 4, 2015 |
The book was a fun, gripping read from start to finish. It has all the elements I enjoy in a thriller/mystery book and an excellent protagonist to go with it.

I like Rebus as a character, he's raw and gritty, but he's still an enjoyable character to read about. He's realistic, he has multiple dimensions, and overall, compared to similar books in the genre, he stands out. I think it's why I enjoy this book and series so much. Because there's a very realistic protagonist, who is well rounded and compliments the plot. He can be an ass at times, but I think it is fitting for the mood and setting of the book.

This was definitely one of those, gripping reads, especially near the end. I ended up becoming immersed in the book, griping it, as I read on to find out what would happen next. And I think the author set up the scene, and ended it exceptionally well. I was hopping a certain reporter, would get a different ending, he was also a character who was well written, but he was also the type of character you wanted to be hit by a bus.

The story itself was well done, I liked it a lot and I enjoyed trying to piece together the mystery, although near the middle of the book, it began to drag on a little bit, I wanted the story to push forward a little faster than it did during that part, but all in all a great read.

Also found on my book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - Knots and Crosses ( )
  bookwormjules | Mar 1, 2015 |
This classic police procedural is a good introduction to Inspector John Rebus, a curmudgeonly Scot with, naturally, a tormented past and a messed up personal life. Rebus is investigating a murders of very young girls, most likely at the hands of a serial killer. He's also trying to patch up his relationship with his brother and recover from a failed marriage, while being haunted by events from his Army career. These seemingly disparate threads all come together and contribute to solving the crime.

This book is good, solid mystery fare. I was a little bothered by a massive clue that Rebus failed to take into consideration until quite late in the novel. Did the author think readers were naive enough to miss it, too, or are we supposed to be sitting on the sidelines shouting at Rebus, as I did? The reveal of "whodunnit" wasn't completely surprising either, but was still delivered with a twist. I liked Rebus well enough to continue reading this series. ( )
  lauralkeet | Feb 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (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)

(summary from another edition)

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