Knots and Crosses (John Rebus #1)
By: Ian Rankin
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
Detective John Rebus: His city is being terrorized by a baffling series of murders…and he’s tied to a maniac by an invisible knot of blood. Once John Rebus served in Britain’s elite SAS. Now he’s an Edinburgh cop who hides from his memories, misses promotions and ignores a series of crank letters. But as the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind. Because he isn’t just one cop trying to catch a killer, he’s the man who’s got all the pieces to the puzzle…
I had long seen Ian Rankin’s books on the bookshelves at bookstores but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually picked up a book of his. I enjoyed his Malcolm Fox novels (see author tag) and the glimpse into the Complaints division of the police force, but of course the author is more famous for the John Rebus novels. I finally picked up a few a couple of months ago, which was pretty exciting 🙂
Okay, now I see why people love the John Rebus character more than Malcolm Fox: where Malcolm is more uptight and reserved, buttoning down on his emotions, John is a flawed character who smokes, drinks, and struggles with his past experiences in the army. He’s also quite the reader–of the classics, especially–which leaves me all heart-eyes about him, haha. He makes mistakes, but he’s aware of them (more than once he catches himself having a rather sexist thought), and while in this book he’s clearly not the best detective in the precinct, he works hard and knows what’s up. I do wonder whether John ought to be a Catholic or not (or at least Presbyterian), he’s got the Daredevil levels of guilt and angst going for him. But anyway…The other characters he works with were also interesting and different in personality to contrast John, from his brother Michael to his co-worker Weston (his first name escapes me at the moment but he was probably my second favourite character in this book) to his boss Anderson (oh the irony on how him and John were connected was hilarious).
The case itself was interesting, very eerie. It does take a while for Rebus to really get on the case partly because he gets stuck sifting through files of every person with a record living in Edinburgh, not to mention other side stories like his social/love life, his relationship wtih his brother, and that annoying reporter Jim Stevens poking around (must there always be an annoying reporter in these books? Luckily he didn’t screw things up too much for Rebus and tryin to resolve this case).
Overall I thought this was a first solid outing for John Rebus. The jump to the last act and going after the culprit happened a little too quickly perhaps but it was really the characters and the relationships and John Rebus’ introduction that I enjoyed the most. Off to read Hide and Seek next!