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Knots and Crosses: An Inspector Rebus Novel Paperback – Sep 16 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 16 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312536925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312536923
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #794,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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 By Gerrit Ruitinga on 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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a pleasure it is to discover an untapped mystery series. It was almost purely by chance that I picked up Ian Rankin's Knots and Crosses, but it will be with eagerness that I pursue the other books about John Rebus of the Edinburgh police force.
Knots and Crosses is in part a classic police procedural that takes place in the seamy side of Edinburgh that guidebooks never show and that tourists never suspect. The hunted criminal is a serial killer - "But here, in Edinburgh. It's intolerable." The book is also a fascinating psychological mystery with the events of the present rooted in the past and shaped by the meetings of minds. The intricate but never stretched plot is full of unexpected interconnections among the cast of characters.
The chief joy in reading the novel comes from the writing itself. As the title and the detective's name hint, we're in for word play and words loaded with meaning. Thrown in is some hypnotism, excesses of tobacco, sex, and alcohol, a love of books and literature, and love.
As the investigation heats and the killer has the "police force tied in knots," Rebus "was feeling like the detective in a cheap thriller and wished that he could turn to the last page." We are lucky; this is not a cheap thriller and we enjoy every page up to the very satisfying last.
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