Knots & Crosses Book Review

Knots & Crosses Book Review

Title: Knots & Crosses
Author: Ian Rankin
Published: 1987, Reprint 2008, Minotaur Books
No. of Pages: 272
Cover Price: $14.95 US

John Rebus, the popular main character in Ian Rankin’s bestselling series, is introduced in Knots & Crosses. Rebus, who is a detective for the Edinburgh Police, is assigned to the case of a rash of kidnappings of young girls, who are all later found strangled. Rebus and the others assigned to the case cannot seem to find anything to connect the girls; they did not know each other, they did not attend the same schools, and they were not abducted anywhere close to each other. Rebus has received an anonymous letter, hand delivered, that contains a string with a knot tied in it as well as a note that reads: “There are clues everywhere." Since he is busy with the investigation, Rebus doesn’t pay much attention to the note, and as more are delivered to his home, some containing strings and some containing crosses, he puts them aside.

Rebus, who isn’t particularly social, is invited to a party, decides to attend, and meets a press liaison officer, Gill Templer, who becomes his love interest and helps him as he investigates. Rebus is a loner; his wife moved out some time ago, taking their daughter, but he sees her occasionally on Sundays. He is a chain smoker, and spends much of his time in pubs getting drunk. While he is a good detective, he has issues from the past which he has not yet resolved; he was a decorated British SAS officer, but resigned and spent time recuperating from a nervous breakdown. In addition, he has a brother, Michael, who is a successful hypnotist (as their father was), and is not close to John. As is typical in most thrillers, John’s job is on the line, and he finds he and his daughter are in danger. Additionally, there is a nosy reporter who suspects that John is selling drugs with his brother.

Knots & Crosses is a quick, easy read. The characters are down-to-earth and believable. Since the setting is in Edinburgh, and the author is Scottish, there is unique wording and phrasing that is quite charming and adds to the fun of the novel. The cultural differences between the police departments in Britain and the police departments in the US are vast, and it’s interesting to read something a little different. Rankin is obviously well-read, and knows much about literature, since it’s mentioned several times throughout the novel. John’s favorite novel is Crime and Punishment, and that novel serves as inspiration to him in his investigations. Although this is not an edge-of-your-seat kind of novel, it’s important to read it first if planning to read the entire series; knowing John Rebus and his past is vital to understanding him and his actions, and will make the subsequent Rebus novels more enjoyable.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: Knots and Crosses: An Inspector Rebus Novel (Inspector Rebus Novels)

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