On Rebus

27 01 2008

The Rebus books by Ian Rankin

Have not mentioned the Rebus series before but in the past four or five years have read them all. OK, only just. Iwas going to wait for Exit Music to appear in paperback but then just couldn’t delay any longer and have just finished it. Generally, I avoid the Waterstones’ crime section, but was finally persuaded by the weight of highbrow reviews of Rankin to give him a go.

And am pretty glad I did. Despite the often grim subject matter I have found them all to be an easy read with really strong characterisation, not only of Rebus and those closest to him but other more transient individuals too. And a gritty and real Edinburgh is pretty prominent in most of the books too.

So, overall, good fun and really great entertainment. The soundtrack to Rebus’ life is not one I would choose for a minute (generally stuck in the early 70s) but despite this he is a genuinely interesting and sometimes almost likable rather than an annoying and curmudgeonly rebel (which is generally others’ view of him).

This is, I think, the full list in order

Rebus Series:
1 Knots and Crosses (1987)
2 Hide and Seek (1991)
3 Tooth and Nail (1992)
A good hanging (short stories)
4 Strip Jack (1992)
5 The Black Book (1993)
6 Mortal Causes (1994)
7 Let It Bleed (1996)
8 Black and Blue (1997)

rankin

9 The Hanging Garden (1998)
10 Dead Souls (1999)
11 Set in Darkness (2000)
12 The Falls (2001)
13 Resurrection Men (2003)
14 A Question of Blood (2004)
15 Fleshmarket close (2005)
16 Naming of the Dead (2006)
17 Exit Music (2007)

All highly recommended but don’t ask me to remember which one is which.

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7 responses

28 01 2008
Stuart

Like you, I caught up with Rebus comparatively recently. In my case it was only last year that I began reading the series in spite of the generous reviews and Edinburgh being my original home town. It was the latter that finally convinced me to read the Rebus books and I have to say that seven or eight books on I’m glad I did.

Despite the sometime prickliness of the main character he remains difficult not to like, his quick and acerbic wit sees to that. His is a character written with great depth and many levels and skins. The same can be said of many of the main personalities in the books. They manage to often remain unpredictable yet believable.

Knowing the city of Edinburgh well undoubtedly adds to the pleasure and interest in reading Ian Rankin’s books. Most people that hail from Auld Reekie will be aware of, if not necessarily communicative about the fact, that Edinburgh very much has two sides to it – the image that the visitor/tourist sees but also the grimmer reality of the city’s ‘other’ face. The grim graveyard humour remains a welcome blast of home additionally!

1 02 2008
Jon

Great books, I read a few of them a couple of years back and have the newer ones piling up. Must get them read soon. (Not so) interesting fact: I saw Ian Rankin in Tesco Metro at Church Hill last Sunday having trouble at the self-service till…wonder if that’ll make it into the next novel? Can just see Rebus struggling with the technology…

6 02 2008
Stuart

The Tesco Self service will ‘become’ a Deep Purple 12″ vinyl album being downloaded to Mp3. Of that I have no doubt!

7 02 2008
caseyleaver

I enjoy Rebus – but I prefer Charlie Resnick – it’s the descriptioons of the sandwichs!

11 11 2008
Tony Heywood

Hi
Have just started to read the Rebus novels myself and I must say I am hooked.
Have set up a blog here Reading Rebus to record my thoughts. Nice post and nice site, I have added a link back to this post on my template. I will be back to read more.

Thanks

Tony

23 12 2008
mediation service

I love the Rebus stories but have alway avoided watch it on TV but I think Ken Stott would be great as he has the face and the angst that Rebus has.

21 09 2011
Elizabeth

Have read the books and Ken Stott plays the guy so well its untrue.

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