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Knots and Crosses (1987)

by Ian Rankin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Rebus (1)

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3,5761313,497 (3.53)291
Fiction. Literature. Mystery. HTML:

Inspector 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, Inspector 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 gifted mystery novelist Ian Rankin, a fascinating locale and the most compellingly complex detective hero at work today.

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English (121)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
(1987) Very good. Scottish detective John Rebus is introduced as he is trying to solve a string of young girls being murdered. Turns out that an old friend from his days in SAS training is trying to get revenge for Rebus abandoning him in an intense training exercise that destroyed the man's life. Rebus will pay by losing his daughter as the final victim, but Rebus finds him in a library and kills him. His daughter was saved in the man's apartment. Will continue this series.KIRKUS REVIEWA 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.Pub Date:Sept. 1st, 1987ISBN:0312536925Page count:276ppPublisher:DoubledayReview Posted Online:April 9th, 2012Kirkus Reviews Issue:Aug. 15th, 1987
  derailer | Jan 25, 2024 |
I think maybe starting at the beginning was not a great move with this series. Rankin very much feels like he's finding his feet. The story rolls along at a good clip, but it's a bit disjointed and hard to see what it's all actually about. ( )
  robfwalter | Jul 31, 2023 |
I have been told by several people that book 1 isn't great and that they get a lot better. Well, book 1 is awful. It is badly written and full of stereotypes. Rebus himself is one dimensional and utterly unlikeable. He is a sexist, heavy smoking and heavy drinking police man like so many crime characters before him. I just cant see how Rankin can recover in my eyes after this mess of a book. I will read a few more and see. ( )
  pigeonjim | Jul 26, 2023 |
Somehow I never got around to reading a John Rebus book, or any book by Ian Rankin, so I decided to start with the first book in the series. First books in a series can be tough to get into in the beginning as they can to try to explain a lot about who the main character is and why they do and behave the way they do. They can also be the authors first book which also makes things a bit rough in the beginning. But if you stick with this book you will see why this author is so highly praised.
Edinburgh Scotland 1980’s
Preteen girls are being abducted and murdered. What is the connection, and is there a connection to the central character in the book detective John Rebus? Read it to find out.
Overall a great book. ( )
  zmagic69 | Mar 31, 2023 |
Ian Rankin is universally considered to be one of Britain’s greatest living writers of crime fiction. He has been called “the Scottish Ed McBain”, and as an admirer of McBain’s work, I was keen to read Rankin’s books. The first in his John Rebus series is this one, Knots and Crosses, and I have to say: if Rankin’s reputation is based on this book, I cannot understand it. It’s simply not a very good book. Rankin himself admits this (a bit) in his introduction, written many years later. His policeman is far too literary a figure, reading (and quoting from) books that it would be very unlikely for him to read — as Rankin himself tells us. But my problem is not with the character of John Rebus. I would like to see more of him. The problem is with the story. It’s about a serial killer who leaves clues with Rebus — and Rebus, a professional police detective, doesn’t see any reason to share the messages with anyone else on the force. When finally an English professor rings up the police and says that he has figured out a pattern which no one had seen before, I was really shocked. Not shocked at the genius of the professor, but shocked that such an incredibly stupid plot device was thereby exposed, and shocked at the unbelievable (literally, unbelievable) stupidity of the hero, Rebus. Without giving anything away, let’s just say it was a very, very silly story. I can only hope the series got better after this. Maybe I’ll try one more … ( )
  ericlee | Oct 16, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (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
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rankin, Ianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Macpherson, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodchester, AmyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rusconi, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlootz, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Miranda
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nothing is worth finishing
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The girl screamed once, only the once.
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Fiction. Literature. Mystery. HTML:

Inspector 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, Inspector 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 gifted mystery novelist Ian Rankin, a fascinating locale and the most compellingly complex detective hero at work today.

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