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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intro to Rebus
This is a collection of the first three Rebus novels as written by Ian Rankin. The series is now past 15 books in total.

In truth these are maybe the worst Rebus novels but they serve as a useful introduction to John Rebus. They also go to show how a writer gets better over time.

Book 1 "Knots and Crosses" follows Rebus as he tries to catch a serial...
Published on 13 Oct 2006 by Tim Roast

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
These are the first of Ian Rankin's books that I've read and while there is no doubt that the plots are interesting and the stories are quite gripping, I am not sure if I will read more of his books in future.

Let's start with what I like about the books:
1. The plots are interesting, with twists to keep the readers guessing till the end.

2. The...
Published on 4 Dec 2009 by Ersatz


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intro to Rebus, 13 Oct 2006
By 
Tim Roast (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
This is a collection of the first three Rebus novels as written by Ian Rankin. The series is now past 15 books in total.

In truth these are maybe the worst Rebus novels but they serve as a useful introduction to John Rebus. They also go to show how a writer gets better over time.

Book 1 "Knots and Crosses" follows Rebus as he tries to catch a serial killer. The storyline is very simple and the text is also simple compared to Rankin's later novels. Nevertheless it is a useful introduction to the character Rebus.

Book 2 "Hide and Seek" is in the more accomplished style of the other Rebus novels. This time a drug death looks suspicious to Rebus and this leads him onto an investigation that leads to him uncovering illegal fighting. This novel is more in line with the other Rebus novels in the way that the thought processes of the characters are very detailed and the chapters are split simply by day. Also the fictitious places in Edinburgh as used in Novel 1 have disappeared to be replaced by real-life locations.

Book 3 "Tooth and Nail" seems a strange Rebus novel simply because it is set in London and not Edinburgh. Rebus is invited down from Scotland to help with a serial murder case. He is termed as an expert because of his exploits in book 1 (Note: all the books stand-alone but there are some small mentions to the previous books). This is the most accomplished book of the three and explores more the thought processes of the characters and includes more jokes that are a big part of the Rebus novels.

All together the books link together well. For example they all have a pattern in their titles (although Tooth and Nail was originally called "Wolfman" as the author writes in the useful introduction to each novel). And they serve a purpose in introducing the Rebus novels which I am sure you will all love.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing anthology of first three Rebus titles, 20 May 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
An omnibus edition of Ian Rankin's first three tales of John Rebus, this is a fascinating collection for any mystery fan, and a study in technique for anyone planning or hoping to write a crime fiction novel of their own. What is most evident in this title is the way in which Rankin's skill and confidence grow, and the almost transparent efforts he makes to resolve his worries about his art and his central character.
'Knots and Crosses' is a hesitant start. Rebus, at this stage only a sergeant, gets sucked into the investigation of a series of murders in Edinburgh. Young girls are being killed, but Rebus is initially too preoccupied with his own domestic traumas to appreciate how intimately he is involved in the crimes. 'Hide and Seek' takes a now promoted Rebus into Edinburgh's seedy drugs world as he champions the right of a dead user to be treated as the victim of crime and not simply as a statistic. And in 'Tooth and Nail', Rebus is transferred down to London to help catch a serial killer who has the Met baffled.
It's fair to say that these are not classic murder mysteries. Each is flawed, each clearly evidences a working novelist coming to terms with his craft. Rebus is an engaging detective - you can see his character emerging from the novels, can see how the author plays with its various facets, trying to get a balance, trying to create a multi-dimensional figure.
And you can see Rankin coming to terms with the Edinburgh setting, growing in confidence about how to handle it, then perhaps having doubts about the city's ability to sustain a literary detective. Rankin does play with the Jeckyll and Hyde theme (paying homage to a great Edinburgh writer), and will toy with the Jack the Ripper legacy of London, almost as if he is searching for a vehicle for his writing, some way of exploring crime as a sociological and psychological phenomenon, but a phenomenon which is regularly distorted by questions of the nature of 'evil', whether as philosophical or populist concept.
"Rebus: the Early Years" is an entertaining and engaging read which will whet your appetite for future Rebus titles ("Strip Jack" will be the fourth - indeed, the next three titles are also available in omnibus form as "Three Great Novels: Strip Jack / The Black Book / Mortal Causes".
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best series of detective books around, 24 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
The Inspector Rebus series is without doubt the best series of detective novels around at the moment. The character of Rebus is endearing and powerful, yet, at the same time, remarkably flawed. If, like me, you started reading the series with one of the later books, stop...and buy this one. These early books build the characters and set the scene, making the other stories even more empathetic and enjoyable. You'll read the later books and will be able to spot the little flashbacks and in-jokes that Rankin throws in, especially for his dedicated readers. This is a must-buy for any Rebus or crime novel fan.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My latest discovery in this genre, 7 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
An excellent introduction to author, Ian Rankin, and his hero, Inspector John Rebus, both new to me. Having devoured this three-in-one, I am now ready to progress further through the sequence of stories. I believe that the "St Leonard's Years" covers the next three Rebus novels so that will be my next quest.
Of the three "Early Years" stories I preferred the first, Knots & Crosses, and the third, Tooth & Nail, to the second (Hide & Seek) which was a bit harder to get to grips with.
Thoroughly recommended to crime/thriller addicts and you certainly don't have to be Scottish to appreciate them!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent...read this one first, 5 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
On the recommendation of a friend I started reading Rankin's Rebus novels. I started with The Black Book and followed it with Mortal Causes, I then realised that I was reading the books out of order so I read this one which sets the background particularly in relation to his family. I am continuing to read the rest in order. As a police officer myself with experience of working on murder enquiries I can say that although there is a focus on Rebus as the central character, the books are very well researched and realistic in their content, much more so than Inspector Morse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the beginning, 29 Nov 2009
By 
P. Wood (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
Got to know Ian Rankin's novels through later ones and was so impressed decided to work through them all with Knots and Crosses as the starting point. Not as sharp as his later novels but has you on a cliff hanger throughout and gives a lot of background into Rebus the person, his family, his affairs of the heart and his past occupation. Also gives a good narrative on Edinburgh and it's colourful past. Well worth a read and definitely worth continuing with his later novels as each leaves you on the edge of your seat until the last words. Hate it when someone reviews and gives the whole story away in a review so will finish at this!!!! Give it a read, you will definitely enjoy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 4 Dec 2009
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
These are the first of Ian Rankin's books that I've read and while there is no doubt that the plots are interesting and the stories are quite gripping, I am not sure if I will read more of his books in future.

Let's start with what I like about the books:
1. The plots are interesting, with twists to keep the readers guessing till the end.

2. The stories read well and keep the pages turning.

3. The focus is on solving the crime/mystery and not so much on how gruesome the crime is, i.e. the writer gives sufficient details to keep the readers interested and the story going but does not sensationalised the crime with overly vivid descriptions like in many thrillers.

What I like less about the books:

1. I find that the protagonist, Detective John Rebus, is not an easy character to like or 'become close to', unlike for example, Agatha Christie's Hercules Poirot or Miss Marple. This makes it harder for me to be interested in following the stories and looking at the events through his eyes.

2. The stories are quite 'flat', meaning there isn't a buildup or climax. All three stories read like well-paced, straight-forward narratives, which is good but it just doesn't give the same excitement or satisfaction as reading a book that builds up a story and ending with a climax.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Took a bit of getting into, 24 April 2013
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This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
I read the first book of this trilogy and was a little disappointed; took me a while to settle into the storyline and characters and their foibles. however, when I started reading the second one, I was hooked. Excellent writing and I will certainly be purchasing more by Ian Rankin from this series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 18 Aug 2011
By 
Mr. William J. Johnson (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
As an avid reader of Ian Rankin a good way to get three of his early works in one paperback.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genre Busting Quality Crime, 1 Dec 2003
This review is from: Rebus: The Early Years - Knots and Crosses / Hide and Seek / Tooth and Nail (Paperback)
Not really my usual cup-of-tea, but after years of being badgered by friends to give Rebus a chance, I've just worked my way through the Early Years. And what a rewarding read. I like flawed central characters (something that other genre-buster Le Carre excels at) and Rebus is a compelling creation. I also have a soft spot for Edinburgh so I'm as happy to visit it in fiction as in the flesh in the first of these books.
It's also a great antidote to the real disappointment of Jake Arnott's last book (oops - just blown my I-don't-read-crime-cover)
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