Knots and Crosses is my latest attempt to find an author who can hold my attention for more than the few minutes I have to sit and read at the moment. It comes from my parents’ mini-library collection. This shouldn’t be a surprise, if you know that they are Scottish and lived for a part of their lives in Edinburgh.
This is the first of the Rebus novels.
I can see now why he has been able to write more and why the Wikipedia entry for Inspector Rebus mentions that the books account for 10% of all crime book sales in the UK.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, my memory and attention span seem to have become considerably shorter over the last few months and only now seems to be easing slightly. This means that an author who cannot write in a gripping and compelling manner gets, at best, the first few chapters read before I give up trying to remember who is who and what is going on.
No problem with Ian Rankin then. The chapters are short, pithy and easy reading. I like the author’s style. People and events are described, but the author has left plenty of space for my own imagination and knowledge to filter into the whole reading process. It is not pretty reading. The characters are not always to be viewed in a positive light, but neither do they seem to be vilified for their weaknesses and foibles.
Knots and Crosses is centred around a police investigation into the disappearance and then murders of four young girls in Edinburgh. It lays a nice introduction into the character of John Rebus, weaving his past and present lives into the story of the murdered girls. Rebus is brought into the ongoing investigation along with other officers as the search for the killer intensifies and there the real story begins. It is clear where some of the plot is leading, but how it is to reach it’s conclusion is the key to the later part of this novel.
I can give this a hearty recommendation. I found the book a compelling read. I didn’t want to put it down as I drew closer to the ending. I was pulled into the book and the character, and just as swiftly the end came and it was over. I will be reading more Rebus novels. I hope they offer similar fare.
4 out of 5.