Knots and Crosses – Ian Rankin

I started reading this on the recommendation of a colleague, and also because I’ll be visiting Edinburgh later this year and thought I would find it interesting. Knots and Crosses (or at least the version I read) has an introduction from the man himself talking about his writing of the novel and trying to get it published etc. It appears that Rankin isn’t a big lover of this book, which made me a little dubious about continuing. However, I’m not one to give up at the first hurdle so I carried on anyway. And I have to say, I’m glad I did.

Knots and Crosses introduces John Rebus, an ex-army police officer. Everything about him is complicated, his relationships, his family, his job and his past. When young girls are abducted and murdered in the Edinburgh area, everyone is frantic. Rebus is put on the case. However, after receiving anonymous letters which are supposedly ‘clues’ as to the killer’s identity, Rebus knows something is wrong. He feels like he should know who is committing the crimes, but he doesn’t. Something has been blocked out of his past and he needs to unlock it. Haste becomes even more necessary when Rebus’ own daughter Samantha is abducted, clearly destined to be the next victim. Will he delve into his memories in time to find out who has come back to haunt him, or will he be mourning the death of his daughter? Only one way to find out…

Having not read any of his other books, I can’t comment on whether his later ones are any better, but I’d take an educated guess that they are. That’s not to say that Knots and Crosses is rubbish, because it isn’t. It just seems quite gentle for a crime fiction novel. They’re normally more gritty, fast-paced and often gory, Whereas this novel has the pace and ease of reading that you’d expect from a chick-lit book. I would hazard a guess that his writing has matured greatly since this book and since I thoroughly enjoyed this one, I’ll definitely be reading more.

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