September 30, 2011

A Scottish Detective

Admittedly a detective whose marriage is on the rocks, who drinks too much, and who flouts authority whenever possible sounds completely cliché. But Ian Rankin takes these standard mystery tropes and twists them into a gruff but lovable (and completely memorable) character: Detective John Rebus. The first book in the Rebus series is Knots and Crosses.

Rebus lives in Edinburgh--a cold and somewhat mysterious city, at least in the way Rankin writes it. Rebus used to be a paratrooper with the SAS, but now he's just a detective who's trying to quit smoking and keep up with the loads of paperwork from his cases. 

In addition to balancing his difficult  relationship with his ex-wife and daughter with a potential new woman in his life, Rebus also is investigating of a series of kidnappings and murders of young girls. His brother and a nosy reporter end up complicating things for him, while the killer may or may not be sending him crank letters; Rebus isn't quite sure.

I can't really say too much more about the plot without giving the whole big secret away. All in all Knots and Crosses is a fun read, and a nice introduction to the wonderful character of Rebus. If you get hooked on Rebus while reading this one, don't worry, there are about 19 more books in the series, so you can get your curmudgeonly Scottish fix whenever you need!

Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Should I recommend this book to my grandma?  Sure, as long as she doesn't mind a lot of whisky. (And p.s. whisky is Scottish, whiskey is's not a typo!) :)

Who's your favorite divorced detective?