Knots and Crosses (Inspector John Rebus Series #1)

( 18 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

Although scarred by his elite-corps army training, a nervous breakdown and a divorce, police detective Rebus is a dogged investigator in Edinburgh, Scotland. When a case involving a series of murders of young girls turns into a hunt for one of Rebus's old friends who has now turned into a vengeful enemy, Rebus is forced to confront his own long-repressed memories.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"His is a superbly drawn character; matched by the edgy authenticity of the Scottish locale and dialogue."

—Marcel Berlins, The Times

 

"Suspenseful riddling, with exemplary eye to the plod of police through civic jungle."

Sunday Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312536923
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/2008
  • Series: Inspector John Rebus Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 85,598
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin is the worldwide #1 bestselling writer of the Inspector Rebus books, including Hide and Seek, Let It Bleed, Black and Blue, Set in Darkness, Resurrection Men, A Question of Blood, The Falls and Exit Music. He is also the author of The Complaints and Doors Open. He has won an Edgar Award, a Gold Dagger for fiction, a Diamond Dagger for career excellence, and the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contributions to literature. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons. 

Biography

"I grew up in a small coal-mining town in central Scotland. I was always interested in stories. Even though the town had no book stores (and my parents were not great readers), I made full use of the local library. It was mind-boggling to me that (at the age of 11 or 12) I could not gain access to a movie theatre to see such classics as The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, or Straw Dogs, yet no one stopped me from borrowing these titles from my library. Books seemed to have about them a whiff of the illicit and the dangerous. That was all the encouragement I needed. I went to university in 1978, joined a punk band (on vocals), and continued to write a lot of song lyrics and poems. However, I found that my poems were actually 'telling stories', and so started to write short stories.

A few of these found publication and even won some awards. Then one story raged out of control and became my first novel. It was never published, but that didn't matter: I was now a novelist. I stumbled on Detective Inspector John Rebus by accident while attempting to write an update of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Rebus would be my Jekyll, his Hyde a character from his past. Along the way, I discovered that a cop is a good 'tool,' a way of looking at contemporary society, its rights and wrongs. Rebus, I decided, would stick around. Meantime, I finished unviersity, moved to London for four years (where I worked first as a college secretary, later as a hi-fi/audio journalist), then rural France for six years. Both my sons were born in France. By the time the oldest had reached school age, we'd decided to move back to Scotland. I now live and work in Edinburgh, and the Rebus novels have gone from strength to strength in terms of sales and recognition."

Author biography courtesy of Little, Brown & Company

Good To Know

Before making it as an author Rankin held a wide variety of gigs, including working in a chicken factory, as a swineherd, a grape-picker, and a tax collector. He even performed as the frontman of the short-lived punk band, The Dancing Pigs.

He has broken Irvine Welsh and Iain Banks's records, with six titles in the Scottish top 10 bestseller list simultaneously.

His favorite/inspirational books include pretty much anything by James Ellroy, Ruth Rendell, and Raymond Chandler—plus classics of Scottish Literature such as Robert Louis Strevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Other "desert island" titles include Martin Amis's Money, Anthony Burgess's Earthly Powers, Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time and Ian McEwan's First Love, Last Rites.

His favorite web site is http://www.oxfordbar.com — the official web site of Rebus's favourite Edinburgh tavern!

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jack Harvey
    2. Hometown:
      Edinburgh, London and France
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cardenden, Scotland
    1. Education:
      Edinburgh University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

THE girl screamed once, only the once.

Even that, however, was a minor slip on his part. That might have been the end of everything, almost before it had begun. Neighbours inquisitive, the police called in to investigate. No, that would not do at all. Next time he would tie the gag a little tighter, just a little tighter, just that little bit more secure.

Afterwards, he went to the drawer and took from it a ball of string. He used a pair of sharp nail-scissors, the kind girls always seem to use, to snip off a length of about six inches, then he put the ball of string and the scissors back into the drawer. A car revved up outside, and he went to the window, upsetting a pile of books on the floor as he did so. The car, however, had vanished, and he smiled to himself. He tied a knot in the string, not any special kind of knot, just a knot. There was an envelope lying ready on the sideboard.

Excerpted from Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin.

Copyright © 2006, 1987 by Ian Rankin.

Published in 1987 by St. Martin’s Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2000

    Out of the Dark...

    I was bored. I was in Edinburgh for the day, following up on my own Scottish research interests, when shuffling along Princess Street, I found a bookshop with an interesting Ian Rankin display. The marketers would be proud. Their 'dark' book covers, enticed me into the store and to the crime section. I wanted something to read while passing the time in Edinburgh, waiting for my meeting as well as something to pass the time on the hour-long train ride back to Glasgow. After several years of visiting, I wanted to get to know the true Scotland. An old research tool, read 'the literature' generated from homegrown authors. I picked up Knots and Crosses, not realizing that this was the second in Rebus series. I found a nearby coffee shop and dived right in. I blanched at Rankin's descriptive powers. I kept looking up and about Princess Street, the Castle, and Scott Monument. Were these 'true-life' depictions of the city before me? I have lived in Washington, DC and I know about 'crime'. Edinburgh began to shed its' tourist skin. I was so engrossed that I almost missed my bus to my meeting. As the bus drove around Edinburgh, I began to view it through Rebus's eyes, his Edinburgh. Rankin molded the plot, the backdrop, wonderfully. My heart ached as I saw Rebus trying to exorcise his own demons, while untangling the puzzles, left virtually on his doorstep. I was a virtual 'fly on the wall', unobtrusive spirit, looking over Rebus shoulder, wondering where he would go and do next. I saw the 'grit, the dirt of Edinburgh.' Here was an author that didn't sugar coat fiction. I realized this was a series I needed to read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Inspector Rebus is an enigma as a character. He seems gentle, r

    Inspector Rebus is an enigma as a character. He seems gentle, religious, and blasé. But as the book progresses, the reader learns that Rebus trained for Special Forces in the military, and passed with flying colors, then has a mental breakdown after the completion. Rebus seems to pro through life with a failed marriage and a so-so police career. A serial killer has murdered two young girls, and then abducts Rebus's daughter. The story quickly ends after the abduction. I do not find any redeemable quality in Rebus as the main character.

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  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Superb narrative placed in historical Edinburgh.

    This is my second novel starring Inspector Rebus. Rankin makes Rebus colorful with a drive to reach solutions. Looking forward to the entire series.

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  • Posted February 23, 2013

    For the first half of the book, the plot is just ticking over qu

    For the first half of the book, the plot is just ticking over quietly. You are getting some important background information, character definition and atmosphere. But then, like an insanely expensive supercar, the plot leaps from zero to 120 mph in one page. It maintains that pace until the inevitable ending.

    I am perhaps being a little harsh in not giving this book four stars. But unlike Pat Conroy, who makes you care about his characters before he does evil things to them, I never developed an emotional attachment to John Rebus. He is certainly flawed and has a colorful past, but he just isn't that interesting. And Ian Rankin doesn't have the same skill with lyrical prose that James Lee Burke has. So, I enjoyed the book, but not moved by it.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Mystery

    Loved the book. Will read the others but I find the "smoke filled" police station and bars disgusting. Puts a new twist on "graphic novel".

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Last to First

    Having read most of the Inspector Rebus novels except this one, it was nice to see where it all started. The first novel reads like many of the others, as the Rebus personality takes shape. Sad to note that he was such a lush from the beginning. If there is anything I didn't like about the Rebus books, it was all the boozing. Too much for me. Otherwise, I enjoyed the Edinburgh setting, a postcard view that we see as tourists hiding all those blemishes. Rankin creates great characters, many of whom I'd love to have a cup of tea with. From start to finish, if Exit Music is the finish, Ian Rankin has created a series of which he can be proud. A toast to you, Sir.

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