- See the full list of books in Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series.
Knots & Crosses (Inspector Rebus #1) Paperback – 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Saw a UK documentary on Edinburgh and Ian Rankin. Never fancied "Rebus" before. But the documentary, especially Rankin's discussion of the ideas from RL Stevenson in his... Read morePublished 19 months ago by William E. Smith
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 23 months ago by Linda Sauro
Knots & Crosses is the first book in the Rebus series, and it is a reworking of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Read morePublished on April 1 2014 by Cecile Sune
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 morePublished on Feb. 4 2014 by Leo
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 morePublished on March 24 2003 by Daniel Hodges
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 morePublished on May 21 2002 by Isabella K. Badenoch