I had low expectations going into this Being a big fan of Scottish lit, I ve always kept Rankin at arms length, thinking that he d be too pulpy and pop culturey to be worth reading I m comfortable enough to own my snobbery Lately, though, I ve felt Rankin s pull, especially since Henning Mankell s Wallander books reignited my interest in crime fiction I have a thing for those damaged, brooding, middle aged, drink too much detectives, whose world view is so beaten and jaded by what they ve seen and done that they are doomed to a slow path of self destruction So I thought it was probably time to give Rankin a try.I have never seen an on screen adaptation of Rebus, so I had no preconcieved BBC notions to overcome, but I decided to take a crack at Rankin s first novel, The Flood, first, hoping that a peek at one of his none detective novels would seed an appreciation for his writing before I tackled Rebus It didn t I was mostly disappointed, and I appreciatred little that he had done Still, I saw enough potential there in his writing to pick up the first Rebus book from my shelf and give it a go.Surprise, surprise, I really liked it, and I was impressed with the way Ian Rankin used the obligatory detective s family in peril cliche Every police detective series with any staying power has one of these episodes, but they usually come deeper in the series, when the author and his audience have a personal stake in the protagonist s life view spoiler In this, the first Rebus book, however, Rankin goes straight for DI Rebus ex wife and daughter as payback for a perceived betrayal hide spoiler Legendarni kotski autor krimi a ije su knjige do ivele sjajne ekranizacije a njegov Rebus proslavio ga je irom sveta Samo ga kod nas publika ignori e iako smo te kom mukom obezbedili prava za njegove knjige i objavili ak 4 naslova iz serijala o rebusu These tourists spent so much time photographing things that they never actually saw anything, unlike the young people milling around, who were too busy enjoying life to be bothered capturing false impressions of it At the moment my TV viewing is mainly made up of watching detective thrillers Sherlock, True Detective, Midsomer Murders, Father Brown, etc When I really enjoy watching a series I sometimes decide to check out the books to see how close they are to what I ve viewed and because I also adore a good mystery read That s what I did with Knots and Crosses, the first entry in the Inspector Rebus series.Two 11 year old girls were kidnapped and subsequently murdered by a criminal known as the Edinburgh Strangler He seems to be a child murderer that the police can t catch The violence and reasons for the killings are not sexual Inspector Rebus from Edinburgh is a well respected booze loving, maverick police officer and is one of many officers working the case He does, however, feel uncomfortable as he also has an 11 year old daughter It may even be that the killer could know Rebus as they send him cryptic messages on the days that the girls are abducted and the envelopes include a knot of string or a matchstick cross.The main characters we follow are Rebus, his policeman ally Cambell, a journalist called Stevens, a media liaison officer called Templer, and his hypnotist brother This is a complex and thrilling tale which Rankin described as being a modern day interpretation of Stevenson s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and is based partly on the real life gentleman criminal Deacon William Brodie I devoured this in 24 hour hours and thought it was pretty awesome The way I analysed the written portrayal of Rebus was in line with John Hannah s presentation than Ken Stott s I also enjoyed reading about sections that were only hinted at briefly in the television versions such as an emotionally despondent segment where under hypnosis Rebus reflects on his time training for the SAS The conclusion was nicely wrapped up and exciting until the very end I believe Rankin didn t initially intend for Inspector Rebus to turn into a series so everything wraps up nicely here but I ll definitely carry on reading the adventures of everyone s favourite drunken wildcard Scottish policeman. Detective Sergeant John Rebus joined the Edinburgh police force 15 years ago, after leaving the special forces unit of the British Army SAS Rebus is a solid cop, respected if not quite liked by his superiors As the story unfolds we learn that Rebus s brutal SAS training left him profoundly troubled, so that he drinks too much, has a failed marriage behind him, and has a somewhat distant relationship with his young teenage daughter Samantha When a serial killer starts murdering young girls in Edinburgh, Rebus is drafted onto the team investigating the deaths At about the same time Rebus starts getting anonymous letters with cryptic messages, which he thinks are from some joker maybe even his ex wife or daughter As Rebus assists with the serial killer inquiry he s unaware that a reporter, Jim Stevens, is stalking him It seems that Stevens thinks Rebus s brother Michael a successful stage hypnotist is pushing drugs and that detective Rebus is helping him Stevens hopes that by cracking this conspiracy he ll become famous and successful The reporter becomes even determined to nail Rebus when the detective starts dating attractive Detective Inspector Gillian Templer who once went out with Stevens literally once As the killings continue, and the anonymous letters keep coming, it becomes clear that the murderer has a fixation on Rebus himself Unfortunately, Rebus can t think who might have a grudge against him, especially since he s blocked memories of his SAS days Eventually with a little help Rebus recalls his past and a tip from the public provides needed clues The detective puts all this together and figures out the identity and motives of the killer, which leads to a dramatic confrontation Though I ve read many books in the Rebus series, I hadn t read this first one until now The story serves as a good introduction to detective Rebus himself, but the plot is too simplistic and somewhat unlikely It also starts off overly slowly but starts zipping along once Rebus gets into the thick of the investigation.For a cop on the job for 15 years Rebus s intuition is underdeveloped He s way too slow on the uptake about the anonymous letters Granted Rebus has a clouded memory due to his SAS training, but getting weird letters in the midst of a murder spree should ring a bell in ANY detective s mind The author violates one of my pet peeves in this book As much as I like Rebus as a detective I don t believe his paunchy, sloppy looking self would get beautiful DI Gill Templer to sleep with him right off the bat In my opinion some male authors are especially prone to write this kind of male fantasy and I never find it credible.Overall, I enjoyed this first book in the series and feel like it s a good introduction to Rebus and his personality The series gets even better in later books, with Rebus becoming fully realized as a character and the mysteries themselves becoming sophisticated and complex Still, I d recommend the book to mystery fans The Rebus books are well worth reading and this is a good place to start.You can follow my reviews at Detective John Rebus His City Is Being Terrorized By A Baffling Series Of Murdersand 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 Knots and Crosses John Rebus and the Book of JobJob, actually I read it once a long time ago It seems frightening now though The man who begins to doubt, who shouts out against his God, looking for a response, and who gets one God gave the world to the wicked, he says at one point, and Why should I bother at another It sounds interesting But he goes on bothering Yes, that s the incredible thing Conversation between Detective Sergeant John Rebus and Detective Inspector Gill Templer ,.Damned if I haven t met myself coming and going in Knots and Crosses, the first John Rebus novel by Ian Rankin After sharing a quote from the novel, a friend from the UK responded it seemed I was identifying with John Rebus An adept observation However, I felt it a matter of staring at myself in the mirror reading through this debut of a rather complex character Considering some of the reviewers opinions of John Rebus, he s either loved, hated, or merely shrugged off Fancy that Aren t we all In spite of whatever opinion we may have of our own self.While not a policeman, I was a career prosecuting attorney I worked closely with law enforcement of all ranks I was a go to Assistant District Attorney Give it to Mikey Mikey likes it Well, I didn t like it How do you like dead bodies in situ The stench of voided bladders and sphincters Floaters Bodies undiscovered for days of temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Farenheit Cases involving children are the worst I have mentioned it in other reviews I will not repeat the detail here However, I will say, having attended the exhumation of a child for a re autopsy, whom I originally saw dead on a hospital gurney, and was present for the original autopsy, I recommend cremation if given the choice Especially if the burial plot is beneath the water table I have flashbacks to that case to this day.Detective Sergeant John Rebus is involved in the investigation of a serial killer in Edinburgh, Scotland All the victims are children between the ages of eight to twelve He is only one of many Really on the outskirts of the investigation Assigned to the Incidents room scouring over reports looking for possible leads in the investigation Tracking down reports involving a particular model of car following the report of a citizen having seen such a vehicle in connection with the abduction of one of the victims.When you are a John Rebus, you realize most people go through life as tourists, just as the tourists who visit Edinburgh They see the statue of Greyfriar s Bobby in the Kirkyard, the towering buildings, the usual sights, and take the usual photographs Most people do live a Disney life, untouched by violence, safe in the knowledge that such things always happen to other people That most of the time, whoever ends up dead did something they should have known better than to do, and all cases are solved within sixty minutes on the telly.Rebus knows otherwise So do I That s why Rebus, the thinking man, isn t above having a go at the God of Job.At times Rebus questions his own faith trapped in limbo, believing in a lack of belief, but not necessarily lacking the belief to believe As the investigation drags on and the number of victims increases, Rebus reminded himself to stop praying Perhaps if he stopped praying, God would take the hint and stop being such a bastard to one of his few believers on this near godforsaken planet Perhaps Rebus thinks Job s God is having the mickey off the innocent I often thought so I teetered on and off the road of faith for years I ve now reconciled myself to being what I call an Orthodox Heretic, or perhaps a hopeful agnostic Taking Pascal s Wager might be a safe bet It is far from a Disney WorldAh, but it was not a nice world this, not a nice world at all It was an Old Testament land that he found himself in, a land of barbarity and retributionThrough the investigation of the abductions and murders of the young girls of Edinburgh, Rebus reviews his life as a policemen Not unlike many of his comradesFifteen years, and all he had to show were an amount of self pity and a busted marriage with an innocent daughter hanging between them It was disgusting than sadAlarmingly, Rebus daughter, Samantha, is twelve It s hard not to have a chill run up the spine.Once I look into the mirror For me, it was a marriage of twenty years, two children Busted I have grandchildren I ve never met I m one up on Rebus My second marriage is on the downhill run It s never clear what exactly led to Rebus and his wife divorcing I think it had to do with the work The hours The time away I remember being told You care about other people s children than your own The fact was, I knew mine were safe I saw to that But the work was relentless.Rebus tells usNo sooner had he finished with a case than another two or three appeared in its place What was the name of that creature The Hydra, was it That was what he was fighting Every time he cut off a head, popped into his in tray Coming back from a holiday was a nightmare And now they were giving him rocks to push up hills as wellIan Rankin makes Rebus a literate man The allusions to Greeks and Roman mythology are most satisfying The multiplying cases akin to the monstrous Hydra, one of the labors of Hercules And pushing rocks up hills Poor Sisyphus, doomed to roll a boulder up a hill without ever reaching the summit before it rolled back downhill.Yes The filing cabinets filled They were crammed Up to a thousand cases at a time My word for the job was relentless The plot of the novel is slow to build Carefully built As young girls are kidnapped and murdered, Rebus is receiving cryptic letters Each contains a knotted piece of string A note saying the clues are everywhere As the cases mount, the letters include little crosses tied with knotted string Knots and Crosses Rebus does not connect the letters to the investigation.But he will When the killer assaults his ex wife and kidnaps his own daughter, Samantha All the letters to Rebus have been a taunt The initial letters of the previous victims name spell out Samantha Suddenly the case is intensely personal And the killer has murdered each child by strangulation A nasty death Strangulation with a garotte There are the knots The crosses signify the killer intends to crucify Rebus.No slow pace now But a careful race against the clock to the finish When the killer calls to say Samantha will die tonight What secret lies hidden in John Rebus past that does not allow him to connect the dots to realize who the killer is This is a fine series debut It far exceeds the ordinary police procedural And it s good to know that the Rebus novels have extended to twenty four volumes I have some fine reading ahead of me I wonder if Rebus will continue to have me staring in the mirror. I first sampled the Rebus series at book 12 The Falls and have subsequently read books 8 to 19 Rankin s latest in random order This hasn t been a problem, there is a background thread that runs through the series an army career, a failed marriage and a daughter but it s really just background noise to whatever is happening in the current book This time I decided to go back to the start, to book 1 The first thing that struck me was how different the style is The later stories resound with the Edinburgh copper s wry humour and his cynical, irreverent approach to his superiors This first offering is much darker and at times the prose is lyrical to the extent it feels like reading poetry The details too have changed with time The love of jazz has morphed into a passion for 60 s and 70 s classic rock The drinking is now undertaken almost exclusively in the Oxford Bar a real life pub I ve visited , a venue not mentioned in KC And, subtly, the early Rebus feels much of a damaged soul as he wrestles with nightmares of his army past and reflects religious belief and knowledge of the Bible I don t recall from readings of his later adventures.So what of KC itself Once I d adjusted to the old Rebus, I quickly became absorbed in what is an intriguing mystery as Rebus and his colleagues attempt to chase down a child murderer It s cleverly plotted and complex enough to keep even the most attentive reader on their toes But it s Rebus himself and the past that haunts him that s the real star turn here It s easy to see how this Rebus begat the one I d grown to know and love There are some gaps, Rebus will need to grow into the character I ve become familiar with, but the good news is that I ve still got books 2 to 7 to enjoy watching him mature. This is my first time reading a book by Ian Rankin I wasn t sure what to expect, but it definitely delivered It s not so much a police procedural as it is a character study.John Rebus is a Detective Sergeant in Edinburgh He is a complex character, and the book provides an in depth portrayal of him We see how he fits into his environment at home and at work, how he relates to family, friends, and co workers, and how his past haunts him There is a period of time that Rebus keeps stored in a box in the back of his mind Every once in a while, he has to forcefully stuff those memories back into that box After Rebus receives some anonymous notes and several murders later, he has to face the facts in those memories.A secondary character is a journalist named Jim Stevens He adds two and two and comes up with five Not much is told about this character, so I don t know why the Epilogue is about him.Physically, this book is shorter, narrower, and thinner than most books I read, but it sure packs a lot of story into its pages The book is open ended, which means I must read the next book very soon. Many detective stories start out with a bang Something dramatic happens Knots and Crosses, Rankin s first Rebus novel, and maybe his first novel altogether, is not that way After 50 pages, still not much had happened.Most detective novels alternate scenes of tension and scenes of relief Not this one When the tension finally starts to build, it continues on an unrelenting screaming frightening path to the end of the story.I guess you can tell I enjoyed the read That s all I m going to say since I don t want to reveal the plot. Love the troubled Inspector Rebus Great series Read this in 2011, wow
Jack Harvey.Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature His first Rebus novel was published in 1987 the Rebus books are now translated into 22 languages and are bestsellers on several continents.Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow He is also a past winner of the Chandler Fulbright Award, and he received two Dagger Awards for the year s best short story and the Gold Dagger for Fiction Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, and Edinburgh.A contributor to BBC2 s Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin s Evil Thoughts, on Channel 4 in 2002 He recently received the OBE for services to literature, and opted to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons.
- 228 pages
- Knots & Crosses
- Ian Rankin
- 12 September 2017 Ian Rankin