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Knots And Crosses (A Rebus Novel) Paperback – 7 Aug 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 307 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; reissue edition (7 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752883534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752883533
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (307 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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"

Suspenseful riddling, with exemplary eye to the plod of police through civic jungle.

His is a superbly drawn character; matched by the edgy authenticity of the Scottish locale and dialogue.--Marcel Berlins "The Times "

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"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The very first Rebus novel from the No.1 bestselling author.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Set in Edinburgh, 1985, this is the first novel featuring Detective Sergeant John Rebus. In the tradition of flawed detectives, he is divorced and has a stilted relationship with his daughter, Sammy and a distant one with his only brother, Michael. Living in a flat, his mattress on the floor and books piled all around him, Rebus is a rather grumpy character who both drinks and smokes too much. Leaving the army (specifically the SAS Special Assignment Group) he has had a breakdown before joining the police force. However, many of the memories that he has tried to block out are about to come back and haunt him.

Girls in the city are being abducted and murdered - girls of around the same age as Sammy. As Rebus becomes involved in both the investigation and with a colleague, Gill Templer, he is also intrigued by a series of anonymous notes, containing either pieces of knotted string or two matchsticks making a cross. Meanwhile, journalist Jim Stevens, is drawn to Rebus in the course of another story and, before long, Rebus finds that his life, and that of his family, is in danger as the past and present collide.

This is a good start to the series, although it is obvious that the author is in no way certain that Rebus will become a long running character and he is still trying to create his background and traits. However, if you are reading a series, I always think it is best to begin at the beginning and get a sense of how the characters develop. Obviously, this is a long running and very successful series and I look forward to reading on and feel glad that I have (finally) discovered it.
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By A Customer on 26 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
I was recommended to Rankin's works by a very well read friend of mine, who, fortunately, warned me that the Rebus novels improve with each subsequent book.
Having now read the next three books I can confirm that that statement is true, but I would strongly advise that anyone wanting to 'get into' Rebus should most definately read them in order as there are themes that run through the books, and you really do start to build up a very good mental picture of the inspectors life, loves, work colleagues and family.
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Format: Paperback
'Knots and Crosses' is the first book in Rankin's Rebus series. Several young girls have been kidnapped and murdered in Edinburgh and the murderer seems intent on getting Rebus to pursue him by sending Rebus cryptic notes. All the notes contain either a knotted piece of twine or two crossed matches. To solve the case, Rebus must confront aspects of his past that he would much rather forget.

The introduction to the novel is really interesting as Rankin reflects on his work and points out the flaws that he now sees. It's fascinating to watch the progression of a novelist from their own perspective.

I liked the novel very much. It's short and pacey, but I think that the character develops much further in later novels and is more psychologically and intellectually realistic later on which is why I've only given it three stars. Nevertheless, recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book Ian Rankin's inspector Rebus series. I am a big fan of the whole series of books (which now runs to over a dozen books) and this is a good book, although it is far from the best book in the series.
The series...each of the books in the Rebus series is self-contained (in the sense that it deals with a case or group of cases) but there is significant character development through the series and it is best to read them in order (obviously starting at with this one). Ian Rankin is much better writer than the average crime writer. He has a number of strengths that make the Rebus series the most enjoyable contemporary crime series. Rankin's strengths include strong story telling, the ability to conjure up imagery quickly and effectively, strong characterisation and an excellent sense of place (he is particularly interested in exposing the seedy underbelly of Edinburgh). He writes well and does not rely on local patois or dialect (unlike Irvine Welch for example) - this has the advantage of making the books easier to read but it does lead to the sense of place occasionally faltering. For me, he is the best British crime writer, almost in the same league as Thomas Harris and James Ellroy. One of the strengths of the series is the central character, John Rebus. He is an interesting, flawed man - with a failed marriage behind him, a rather distant teenage daughter he barely knows, a traumatic military career (ultimately in the SAS) and something of a drinking problem. He is a curmudgeon - he has problems with dealing with authority but also expects absolute respect from the people below him in the hierarchy. He is not a team player, he likes to work alone and keep secrets. Despite all these flaws his passion, drive and humanity make him a sympathetic character.
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The first of the Rebus novels and interesting as a source of background for the more developed character who would emerge in later works. This is a very limited piece of writing - the sort a teacher might describe as "showing promise". Rankin goes on to much better work, and his growth in literary maturity and confidence will shine through.
Rankin uses a simple, direct plot. He imports clichés - serial killer, revenge, the policeman and his family under threat. He hasn't made up his mind whether to write a police procedural or a thriller. He doesn't really nail his colours to the mast, so the plot and the characterisation drift innocuously in places. Even the background colour of Edinburgh is sparse - as if it might be a marketing mistake to make the book too Scottish ... or as if no one could believe evil would visit Edinburgh.
Indeed, Rankin does agonise at places in the book, reminding the reader that Edinburgh has its own history of grave robbers and murderers, that the city might present itself as a tourist, cultural, and political centre, but it is also a city which experiences violence, drugs, poverty. And it's the city of Stevenson, the source, perhaps, of his Jekyll and Hyde.
So "Knots and Crosses" is a bit coy. There is little use of Scots languages - it's a very English novel in that sense. This is far removed from, say, "Trainspotting". It introduces Rankin, a police sergeant who believes in god but who can't find a church he quite believes in. He's a man with a failed marriage, a fragile relationship with his daughter, and a successful brother. And Rebus is a man with a military past who is now being plagued with anonymous letters which distract his attention from a spate of murders which have begun to trouble the city.
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