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Knots & Crosses (Inspector Rebus #1) [Paperback]

Ian Rankin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Knots and Crosses Knots and Crosses 3.5 out of 5 stars (17)
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beginning Of A GREAT Series Dec 11 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Someone is strangling children in Edinburgh. Inspector John Rebus starts receiving what he thinks are crank letters, each enclosing a small neatly tied knot. While investigating the serial strangler, Rebus takes the reader with him on a tour of the seedy side of Scotland's second city. Along the way we learn that Rebus has lost his marriage, has forgotten how to communicate with his young daughter, drinks too much and feels and acts the loner. We meet the other detectives and minor characters that flesh out the story so well. While Rebus starts to see where all the clues are pointing, the reader is completely drawn into the story. Rankin set out to write a modern day parallel to Jekyll and Hyde, not a crime fiction book at all. But the result is the beginning of the best mystery series I've yet to read. Inspector Rebus is fascinating enough to carry a book by himself, but the mystery is absorbing, thought-provoking and makes this book a fast paced page turner. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Ian Rankin has penned a masterpiece with this series. I hope you will read them all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing May 5 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The series featuring DS John Rebus has been around for a while and is very popular in the UK.
Therefore I decided to pick up the first novel. I was very surprised indeed. It is a very strong,dark and gloomy thriller set against the unusual background of Edinburgh. The DS is a drop out of the army's elite unt, SAS and has become a veteran policeman."A good, but not very good one"according to his boss.
The city is haunted by a serial killer who goes for little girls, without harming them sexually.
John is receiving all kinds of notes which are written as riddles. He neglects them for a while but with the help of his brother he finds a connection in his past to the killer and goes on a haunt.
The hunt is not heroical and leaves a lot of scars for the people involved. In particular Rebus himself is on the receiving end.
The story is written so tightly that you can't help wanting to finish it in one setting and leaves a lot of looking forward to the next installments.
A good read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Bored to Death in New Hampshire April 7 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I hated this book. At least fifteen people must have recommended Rankin to me, but I found the prose sludgy and the plot generally uninteresting, and, as in other of his books, hard to keep track of. He has a formula he doesn't seem to deviate from: an interesting murder (usually) is described and after that, the characters, who are really stock figures, set about figuring out what happened while doom and gloom swirls about Edinburgh. He uses the trick of trying to make the main character sympathetic by making him a maverick while the other benighted police personnel fail to understand his superior ability. So do I. He seems barely human.
His books tend to be quite long. After reading two of them, and realizing I could have reread Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, or Alice in Wonderland, or just about anything, I was completely fed up with myself for having wasted the time. I lent the book to someone else who said it wasn't as terrible as I thought it was but he wouldn't read another book of his. Why all the fuss?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not your run-of-the-mill procedural Dec 24 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Interesting. I had heard of Rankin in passing but I watched an interview with him in July. I had to give him a try. Knots and Crosses shows that it is his first major work. There are some flaws to the story and the flow, especially in the beginning. But at some point, it grabs you and won't let go. I had to read 2/3 of the book today because I was interested in seeing where the plot twists.
While K&C may not be much more than basically formulaic on many levels, I enjoyed the realism of the characters. Certainly, in a shorter work, it is difficult to establish too much complexity or red herrings. I enjoyed the idea that the main character was solving the crime more by accident than by effort. As a novel outside the genre, I think it is a very worthy effort at combining characterization and plot. For those of you who view it as a not too clever example of the genre, maybe you should read something else for a while and freshen up.
Very much worth the money, esp if you intend to read the later books.
Great effort Ian and much fun!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dry, dark, humorless police procedural July 26 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Recent installments of the Rebus series (Black & Blue, Dead Souls and Set in Darkness) have garnished a fair amount of critical acclaim and awards. I thought I'd check out the series from the beginning. It may be a long time before I get to the books that won the awards.
Knots & Crosses is a competently written police procedural set in Scotland. It was, at least for me, a bit of chore to read. The bleakness was the difficulty. A nasty child murderer is sought. Rebus is a bit too stereotypical - divorced, alienated, chain smoking loner with a past that the reader has to guess about. With the exception of some tourist info (meaningless to me, having never been there), there just is no relief for the reader. While everything is resolved in the end, the reader doesn't get many clues to chew on in the process of the novel.
Bottom-line: I'd give this two and a half stars if the system allowed. Fans of British police procedurals may like this better but I'd rather read Daziel & Pascoe or Inspector Barnaby.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Definitely a good read
Published 24 days ago by Heather Damer
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the first Rebus book which I had never ...
This is the first Rebus book which I had never read. It sets the background for the character- a must read for fans of Rankin's Rebus series.
Published 2 months ago by Linda Sauro
3.0 out of 5 stars A Promising Start for the Rebus Series
Knots & Crosses is the first book in the Rebus series, and it is a reworking of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cecile Sune
3.0 out of 5 stars somewhat typical
I enjoyed the book, although it was somewhat typical and predictable that the main character's daughter was abducted and the target of the whole facade. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Leo
5.0 out of 5 stars Knots and Crosses
The first book by Ian Rankin and the first to feature Inspector John Rebus. I must admit to being more interested in good characters than clever story lines but this has both. Read more
Published on March 24 2003 by Daniel Hodges
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still intriguing
What can one write about Rankin? The creator of Inspector Rebus? This is one in his long series of Rebus novels and of course it is intriguing and great. Read more
Published on May 21 2002 by Isabella K. Badenoch
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting introduction to the series.
Lacks the complex, inter-twining plot and characters of his excellent later novels. The plot is a little run of the mill and the resolution predictable. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Mystery set in Edinburgh
I discovered Ian Rankin while on vacation in Edinburgh. Enjoying reading books set in places I'm visiting, I went into a book store and asked for a good mystery by a Scottish... Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Cross my heart, you'll knot be disappointed
I have been looking for a good mystery series for months. After reading all of Anne Perry, P. D. James, Elizabeth George, and Martha Grimes, I have been disappointed time after... Read more
Published on June 13 2000
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