It is years since I read any Ian Rankin. I was always a huge fan of Rebus. Never the TV version of him, but instead the one in my head that had been built up from years of reading stories about him. But then life got in the way a bit and I sort of lost track of what he was up to. Life a relative that you just hear of through others in the family, I knew that he’d retired, but somehow been lured back into police work. I knew I wanted to find out what he was up to, but knowing where to pick up his story seemed a bit tricky. Instead I decided to go right back to the start. But by only following him through secondhand purchases. So, that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Starting again at the very beginning of Rebus’ story with Ian Rankin’s Knots and Crosses. This version with an introduction from Rankin himself about how he formed Rebus at the time and a bit about how he ended up changing over time. He was supposed to die at the end of Knots and Crosses, and having no re-read the story the ending really could go either way.
What was a bit strange though was that Knots and Crosses doesn’t really introduce the Rebus I know and I love. Instead it told the story of a slightly familiar Rebus, with familiar characters around him, but it was as if he wasn’t quite fully formed. His music tastes were still developing and he didn’t seem quite so sure of himself as he did later on. But that’s all to be expected I guess. You can’t expect any author to completely nail a character in their first book about him. Rebus develops over time and I guess that’s exactly how you get to know people in real life too. You form some initial impressions, but as you get to know them more your opinions change, and as they go through life’s experiences (and let’s be honest, Rebus has a lot of those!) people change too.
I really enjoyed reading Knots and Crosses and love getting caught up with the thrill of trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and work out who was behind the whole story. Rankin really made me realise just how much I love crime fiction as a genre and it seems crime set in Scotland in particular. I’m also really keen to know more about the various tunnels under Edinburgh. Another thing to add to my list of topics to research when time allows.
There’s something really nice about being back at the start. Knowing that I’ve got all Rebus’ adventures to come again. And then there’s also the challenge of scouring charity shops and secondhand book stalls with a list to try and complete the collection. But if anyone can please tell me why the third Rebus book Tooth and Nail / Wolfman is proving to be so illusive I’d very much appreciate it!