Born in 1960 in Scotland, Ian Rankin is known for well-written, brooding stories filled with gritty realism.
Rankin’s most popular and prolific work is the “Inspector Rebus” series. These police procedurals focus on the careful solving of a crime. Rankin captures the repetition and exhausting legwork as well as the flashes of insight and danger that characterize such investigations.
Rankin excels at creating characters of such convincing humanity that it is hard to believe they are not real flesh and blood. Inspector Rebus is alternatively selfish and kind, cynical and hopeful. He is a man with a difficult past who does not feel sorry for himself. Instead, Rebus struggles thoughtfully with issues ranging from his addiction to cigarettes to his feelings about faith and religion. He occasionally tends towards despair but remains relentless in battling the evil his job uncovers.
In addition to creating a complex main protagonist, reviewers have praised Rankin’s ability to juggle multiple plots and motives that are slowly resolved into a coherent whole.
Sense of place is another key part of Rankin’s storytelling. The moody atmosphere of Edinburgh, Scotland, complete with meticulous geography and all sorts of local characters, dominates each story. The struggle between the classes is a common theme and Rebus is all too aware that justice is often fleeting.
In addition to the Inspector Rebus series, Rankin has written several stories of espionage and counter-terrorism. In 1997, he was awarded the Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction for Black and Blue by the Crime Writer’s Association of Great Britain. In 2004, his book Resurrection Men won the Edgar Awards Best Novel.
- Ken Bruen’s series set in Ireland featuring Jack Taylor: The Guards (first in series)
- George P. Pelecanos’ series set in D.C. featuring Marcus Clay and Dimitri Karras: King Suckerman (first in series)
- Robert Wilson’s story set in Portugal featuring Inspector Zé Coelho: A Small Death in Lisbon
Inspector Rebus Series:
- Knots and Crosses (1987)
- Hide and Seek (1991, 1994)*
- Tooth and Nail (1992)*, ***
- Strip Jack (1994, 1992) **
- The Black Book (2000, 1993)
- Mortal Causes (1995)
- Let It Bleed (1996)
- Black & Blue (1997)
- The Hanging Garden (1998, 1999)**
- Dead Souls (1999)
- Death Is Not the End (2000)
- Set in Darkness (2000) ***
- The Falls (2001, 2000)
- A Good Hanging: Short Stories (2002, 1992)
- Resurrection Men (2003, 2002) LP
- A Question of Blood (2003)
- Fleshmarket Alley: an Inspector Rebus Novel (2005) LP
- Watchman (1991, 1988)
- Witch Hunt (2004, 1993)***
The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Second Annual Collection, edited by Ed Gorman (2001)
** Also available as a cassette audio book
*** Also available as a CD audio book
LP Also available in Large Print