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5 Books to get you into Reading Ian Rankin

By April 28, 2016April 29th, 2018Authors

Born on April 28th 1960 in Cardenden, Fife, Ian Rankin is one of the foremost Scottish crime writers and has written over 25 books to date  including the best selling Rebus series.

His success as a crime writer initially shocked Rankin as he’d thought his first books were mainstream but after being reassured that it didn’t matter what his books were classified as being as long as readers read them and loved them.

Rankin is a must read author for those who enjoy crime thrillers and police procedurals so we have put together 5 Books to get you into Reading Ian Rankin.

1. Knots and Crosses

The first Rebus book and a brilliant way to meet Ian Rankin as an author and although I will say the series improves as it goes along but you will not be disappointed by this. Set in Edinburgh Rebus is your classic, heavy drinking, chain smoking, divorced, ex military, post breakdown cop. He has a strained relationship with his daughter Sammy and an awful lot of baggage but when young girls roughly the same age as his daughter start being murdered it falls to Rebus to work out who it is who is killing them and leaving the police cryptic clues as to who they are. Yes Rebus is a little two dimensional here but you need to begin at the beginning and by the time you reach the third book in the series you will be so glad you picked this one up.

Buy Knots and Crosses US
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2 The Complaints

The first Malcolm Fox novel sees Rankin’s return to the police procedural and for me, this is where he shines brightest. Fox is employed in Complaints and Conduct Department of Lothian and Borders Police and as such he’s viewed with suspicion by the regulars. Given the task of investigating Detective Sergeant Jamie Breck who is suspected of involvement in a child pornography ring Fox’s life is complicated further when he discovers Breck’s involvement in an investigation into the death of one Faulkner, a man who was in an abusive relationship with Fox’s sister. As Fox and Faulkner get to know one another and become friendly Fox finds himself professionally compromised and less convinced of Breck’s guilt. A really well written start to the Fox series and an excellent starting point for those new to Rankin.

Buy The Complaints US
Buy The Complaints UK

3 Watchman

A stand alone novel for those of you who don’t fancy delving into a series straight away. Miles Flint is an MI5 surveillance officer, sent to Belfast to witness the arrest of some Irish Republican Army members he realises that their arrests are just a cover and they are in fact on their way to assassinate the Republicans. Realising that his presence there as a witness puts him at great risk of becoming a statistic Flint and one of the Irishmen escape and go on the run, discovering along the way a conspiracy that goes right to the heart of the British Government.

Buy Watchman US
Buy Watchman UK

4 Beggars Banquet

Are you more of a toe dipper? If so then perhaps this short story collection is your best introduction to Ian Rankin. 21 short stories that were written between 1991 and 2000 and includes the novella Death is not the End which features Rankin’s best known protagonist Inspector Rebus. Short stories are always a good way to test the waters of a new author as you can get a really good feel for how they structure their stories and as this has Rebus thrown in, you’ll know straight away of he’s worth investing 20 books worth of time in him. (spoiler, he is).

Buy Beggars Banquet US
Buy Beggars Banquet UK

5 Blood Hunt

This is a novel that Rankin wrote under the pseudonym of Jack Harvey. Blood Hunt follows former SAS soldier Gordon Reeve as he receives a phone call telling him that his journalist brother has been discovered, dead, in a car in San Diego. With the vehicle locked from the inside and the gun used to kill him, still clutched in the dead man’s hand it’s an open and shut suicide surely? Of course not, this is Rankin and it was murder but for some reason no one wants to investigate it. Perhaps it has something to do with the multinational Chemical corporation that Jim was investigating prior to his death?

Buy Blood Hunt US
Buy Blood Hunt UK

Whether you are a tried and tested Crime Fiction aficionado or new to the genre, Ian Rankin is an essential author for all to try.

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