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Knots And Crosses - Ian Rankin

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4 Reviews

Author: Ian Rankin / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    4 Reviews
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      16.04.2009 21:24
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      an excellent first novel

      I have recently read this book after an offer from my book club to get the entire set of Ian Rankin books for £7.99 each. As this was the first Rebus novel I started with this and I hope to read them through in order.

      Rankin's writing style is light easy to read and he does draw you quickly into the story. His character description is mainly good but this has focused mainly on the main character and his description of some of the other supporting characters is perhaps slightly lacking. In this story he conjures up a dark and sinister world which any TV adaptation would find hard to do. Whilst the adaptations of his novels on TV are good, in my opinion, nothing can compare to the books. This book was one I found hard to put down which was good as I read it over the two recent long train journeys I had to do. In this novel Rankin plays on the fears of a parent's worst nightmares. I will definitely be reading more of these novels and buying any more which come out.

      This book focuses mainly on the main character of John Rebus but it does occasionally shift focus onto the life of the gutter press reporter who thinks he has something on Rebus and his brother.

      Whilst with some authors the main character takes a while to develop Rebus seams to be there right at the start of even this first novel. John Rebus is introduced as a chain smoking heavy drinker with a good detective mind. He is also given the history of being in the army and the SAS. This is something he never talks about and he had put a mental block on why he left the army in place. Before joining the police he had also suffered a mental breakdown. He is also divorced and he does not see as much of his daughter as he would like to. To make matters worse his ex-wife is now living with the son of one of Rebus' superiors.

      He has a younger brother, Michael, who works as a stage hypnotist. Michael was their father's favourite, and John knew it. However, there is some dark secret which Michael is keeping from the rest of his family.


      Basic Plot:

      Two children have recently been murdered and their bodies have been found in different places in Edinburgh. The search of the known past cases involving children draws a blank. John Rebus has also received, by post, taunting letters with either a piece of sting tied into a knot or a small wooden cross made out of matches. John, at first, thinks this is the work of a crank and does not take them seriously. The police need to find the murderer and soon especially as a third child goes missing...

      The clue is staring John in the face yet he doesn't see it until the case gets personal. With the help of his brother the truth behind why he left the army comes out. Could this be the clue which links everything together? Can John locate the murderer before the next child turns up dead...

      Why is John being sent these letters? What is it about his army life which he hasn't told anyone? Why is a reporter of a local rag paper so interested in John and his younger brother?

      Whilst this was a very good novel the subject matter will make it hard for some people to read.

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      20.12.2008 20:17
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      A nice easy read.

      After borrowing an Ian Rankin book the other day and rather enjoying it, I decided that I would like to read another one. I chose this book from my husband's collection because it is the first one in the Detective Rebus series and meant I could almost start from the beginning despite having already read one of the later books.

      This book tells the story of Detective John Rebus on the tail of a serial killer in Edinburgh. I liked how the author used a lot of dialect writing in this book as it meant I could almost hear the thick Scottish accents as I read words like "aye" and "whit".

      The story was very original even though it was clearly based around the kinds of stories that we are familiar with. The loner detective who is ex-army getting too close for comfort to a case. How the story progressed is where the originality came in and I was so gripped by this book that I could not put it down. In fact as it is not a very big book I was able to read the whole thing in just three hours!

      This is no groundbreaker or award winner by most people's standards but I do think it is a very enjoyable read and a must-buy for someone who is on the look out for a new crime series to enjoy. My husband Dave reads a lot of books like this and although I do not like things like James Patterson and Dean Koontz, I can see myself flicking through a few more Ian Rankins in the near future.

      I found this book very easy to read, very enjoyable and very laid back. I think it deserves four stars. This is £5.51 from Amazon at the moment which is a little much for such a thin book but I would not be surprised if the price comes down a little in the January sales.

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        30.09.2008 15:38
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        Excellent first novel

        I first read this book just after I finished school. My mum had picked it up at the library and recommended I give it a go. My favourite genre of literature is a good crime thriller, so after reading the blurb, which indicated a dark and gritty police thriller set in Scotland, I gave it a go. I have since read all of Ian Rankin's Rebus books to date, and am very glad that my mum handed me that book all those years ago.

        Knots & Crosses is Rankin's first book featuring his signature character, John Rebus. The book gives us a very brief rundown on Rebus' history as an soldier, disheartened with army life, who has joined the police force and has become a bit of a force himself. As a Detective Sergeant, Rebus is given the task of solving the horrible kidnapping and murder of two young girls. As the murderer begins to send Rebus pieces of knotted string and crosses made out of matchsticks, he must piece together the puzzle and find the murderer before he strikes again.

        Rankin gives us Rebus in a very gritty and dark mould. The writing is very easy to read, and he obviously has a passion for the area of Edinburgh Rebus is based, in his Lothien district. Rankin goes into detail with the surroundings to help portray Rebus' Edinburgh, and the addition of harsh weather conditions merely adds to this.

        This book isn't for the faint hearted, and the same goes for the rest of Rankin's Rebus books. The character is well developed, and we are introduced to a number of his colleagues, friends and rivals alike, the most notable being Siobhan Clarke. This book is the first Rebus book, and as such there is a certain amount given away to the character development, but what I liked about it was that Rankin didn't reveal everything about them, and this made me want to carry on reading.

        I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates good literature, and especially if you like crime thrillers. Everything is portrayed in a rather dark fashion, particularly the city of Edinburgh, which is nothing like as bleak and miserable as the book suggests at times, but don't let this put you off - it's a very well written book that will be hard to put down. It retails at £6.99, but is easily available online for a lot less or around and about in charity shops.

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          12.08.2008 23:25
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          Definite Read

          This is the first in Ian Rankin's books detailing the life and police work of DI John Rebus. This book finds Rebus haunted by his time spent in the army working as a detective in Edinburgh, he both smokes and drinks too much and feels that his relationship with his young daughter is becoming increasingly worse. Rankin wrote this book to be something of a modern retelling of Jekyl and Hyde and it definitely draws parallels with this classic work, Rankins writing is gritty and very descriptive whilst reading you really get a sense of being inside Rebus head and the themes which run through the rest of the series are well established in the first book. I wont give much of the plot away but i was engrossed from the first few pages so i'm sure if you buy it you will be too. I will say that Rankin's writing improves in the next couple of books, but it is best to start at the beginning when reading Rebus

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