Title: Knots and Crosses
Author: Ian Rankin
Publication Date: 2011 (Originally published 19th March 1987)
About the book:
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…
What I Thought:
Knots and Crosses is the first book in the Inspector Rebus series by Ian Rankin. In Knots and Crosses John Rebus is still only a detective sergeant, he’s pulled from his routine caseload investigating everyday crimes in the City of Edinburgh, to work on a major case overshadowing the city – Someone is abducting and murdering young girls. At the same time John is receiving strange anonymous notes, are the two related?
Knots and Crosses wasn’t my first introduction to John Rebus, I’d seen a number of TV adaptations, and read some of the later novels. I even met Ian Rankin during my fresher year when he came the the University of Dundee while promoting the first in the Malcolm Fox series. In my defence Knots and Crosses was first published several months before I was born, however it’s the sort of series I enjoy so I figured it was time to head back to the beginning. I found a box set of the first ten novels online and got started and I’m pleased to report I was not disappointed by the first book.
I really enjoyed this introduction to Rebus the detective, the plot was intriguing, well written and kept me turning the pages. The city plays such an important role in the book, it’s a city I’m familiar with having studied further up the East Coast in Dundee, and now working on the outskirts. I also really enjoyed the differences between tourist Edinburgh and the criminal side of the city.
I was also intrigued by the time frame for the book, contemporary when it was written, set two years before it was published, it’s now thirty years old and details a world completely different to the one I have grown up and become familiar with – a world with no mobile phones – and telex machines, I had to Google what they were!
This particular edition of Knots and Crosses comes with an additional authors note and I was intrigued by the fact Ian Rankin never intended for Knots and Crosses to be the beginning of a series, it was originally to be a standalone novel, I’m quite pleased it wasn’t.
Would I Recommend?
Of course! Although I doubt there are many crime fans out there who aren’t familiar with Ian Rankin! If you’ve only ever started this series part way through it’s certainly worth going back to the beginning and picking up Knots and Crosses. I’ll be moving onto Hide and Seek shortly!