Sunday, February 14, 2016
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
At forty-one, Rebus is a Detective Sergeant who has been with the police force in Edinburgh for fifteen years. He's divorced, with a daughter he misses. He's not close to his only brother, Michael, a successful stage hypnotist. In fact, he's not really close to anyone. When he's not working too hard, he's drinking too much to escape the nightmares of his past. And, with his time in the Army and in Special Assignments, Rebus definitely has nightmares he's glad he's forgotten.
Now, he's assigned to a nightmare of a case, one that strikes too close to home. Parents all over Edinburgh are locking up their young daughters. Someone is abducting young girls, ages eleven or twelve, and strangling them. As Rebus works with other officers to uncover answers, he's blind to the answer staring him in the face. Rebus himself holds the key to the killer's identity, the forgotten nightmare from his own past.
Knots and Crosses was written twenty-seven years ago, the first in a string of successful Rebus police novels. It was a powerful kick-off to the series, introducing a complex character, a fascinating man haunted by demons. I read police procedurals to observe the methodology in the investigation, the careful step-by-step unraveling of the case, sometimes finishing with a flash of insight or brilliance. I appreciate the multiple characters and complicated relationships within the police force themselves. Rankin's first Rebus novel has all of those elements, along with the grittiness of the underbelly of Edinburgh, the sites the police see while tourists don't.
Flawed heroes. Police investigations. Complex cases with unexpected endings. For me, it doesn't get any better than this. I'll be back for more of Ian Rankin's Rebus books.
Ian Rankin's website is www.ianrankin.net
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin. St. Martin's Minotaur. 1987. ISBN 0312956738 (paperback), 228p.
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