Books by Ian Rankin

Brilliant Alphabetic list of Rankin books read, with reviews and quotations.
Brilliant Chronological list of Rankin books.

Favorite so far!
Buy 'The Naming of the Dead'

Alphabetic list of Rankin books read

The first FOX book: Malcolm Fox investigates the investigators.

Also see blog of The Impossible Dead.

Rankin abandons Rebus and murder solving for a story of theft, greed, hubris, and menace. This is not a murder mystery but a book about thrills, greed, hubris, and theft. It's okay but none of the characters are as interesting or sympathetic as John Rebus and Siobhan Clarke.

Also see blog of Doors Open.

Also see blog of Exit Music.

What a delightful fast-paced story, with a grumpy Scottish detective in his last fortnight at work, with a supporting and/or hindering cast of Scots, English, and Russian characters to keep the story turning. The politics of Scottish Independence and of the Edinburgh police interleave with two deaths and one near-death.

A poet is murdered:

Enough 'border' phrases (northern English and southern Scottish) to make the story feel companionable. Includes:

The second REBUS book: a murder of a drug-addict photographer leads John Rebus to a situation when blackmail photos might be of consequence. And Rebus uses diversionary tactics to get behind the scenes.

A little more background on Rebus enriches the story.

Also see blog of Hide and Seek.

The second FOX book: Malcolm Fox continues to investigate the investigators.

Also see blog of The Impossible Dead.

The first REBUS book: a series of murders in Edinburgh all lead to Detective John Rebus; as always, Rebus is part of the problem as well as part of the solution to garrotings.

This book is particularly welcome in providing considerable background on Rebus' time in the army and the training for the SAS. As such, the best one to start with if you plan to get involved with this series.

Also see blog of Knots and Crosses.

Buy 'The Naming of the Dead'

A fascinating and wide-ranging story, that involves many over-world and under-world people, and many issues of family loyalty and friendship and love.

The connection to current politics (particularly the G8 summit at Glenneagles (Scotland) in July 2005 and the associated London bombings) embed the story in Scottish and British culture.

The 14th REBUS book: interesting plot, with a little more regional and class tensions than average. Murder at an upper-crust school interleaves with the murder (or at least disappearance) of a man stalking Rebus' partner, DS Siobhan Clarke. Surely it is only coincidence that Rebus has burned hands and that the believed body of the stalker is burned beyond recognition.

The 13th REBUS book: very complicated: almost 50 people are named in the character list at the start of the book. Something of a slog to get through this, which is partly an excuse for giving Rebus' partner, DS Siobhan Clarke, more independence and initiative.

Also see blog of Resurrection Men.

Also see blog of Saints of the Shadow Bible.

Great to have Rebus back, working on a cold-case in his endearing 'old-school' style, traveling the length of Scotland, and exercising his irreverent sense of humor and how to get the job done. One of the best.

Chronological list of Rankin books

Rankin's Rebus series books

  1. 2014: Saints of the Shadow Bible (with Fox as a significant character).
  2. 2012: Standing in Another Man's Grave
  3. 2007: Exit Music
  4. 2006: The Naming of the Dead
  5. 2004: Fleshmarket Ally ['Fleshmarket Close' in UK]
  6. 2003: A Question of Blood
  7. 2002: Resurrection Men
  8. 2001: The Falls
  9. 2000: Set in Darkness
  10. 1999: Dead Souls
  11. 1998: The Hanging Garden
  12. 1997: Black and Blue
  13. 1995: Let it Bleed
  14. 1994: Mortal Causes
  15. 1993: The Black Book
  16. 1992: Tooth and Nail (originally published as Wolfman)
  17. 1992: Strip Jack
  18. 1991: Hide and Seek
  19. 1987: Knots and Crosses

Rankin's not-a-Rebus books

  1. Doors Open (2010)

Rankin's Fox series books

  1. 2014: Saints of the Shadow Bible (with Rebus as main character).
  2. 2011: The Impossible Dead
  3. 2009: The Complaints

The Rebus Pattern

Want a leg up on solving a Rebus problem? Here is a pattern that tends to be followed:

The Big Picture

In an interview (about 2006) on TV, Ian Rankin said that each of his books is looking for the "big answers" to a question that he (Renkin) feels unable to answer so he lets Rebus struggle with. He includes: