Detective John Rebus first appeared in Ian Rankin's 1987 bestseller Knots and Crosses and has since gone on to appear in 17 books and numerous short stories. For more than 20 years these critically acclaimed novels have delighted readers and set a benchmark in contemporary crime fiction. These notoriously gritty stories have been adapted into a television series—the public cannot get enough of this hard-drinking, no-nonsense, complex detective. Although the fictional Inspector retired to the backwaters of Edinburgh's dark side in the 2007 novel Exit Music, the books endure. Here, Craig Cabell draws from his extensive interviews with Ian Rankin to explore both the writer and his creation, and how their relationship has developed over the years. He also investigates the dark cellars and sinister back streets of Rebus' Edinburgh—a dark, foreboding city that shatters any stereotypes of shortbread and kilts. Learn about the unusual connection between Rankin and Rebus, how the author was a punk musician and swineherd before becoming a writer, and why he was so inspired by fellow Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his masterpiece The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
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Craig Cabell is the author of Dennis Wheatley: Churchill's Storyteller, Ian Fleming's Secret War, and Snipers: Profiles of the World's Deadliest Killers.From Publishers Weekly:
Edinburgh Insp. John Rebus is far and away the greatest creation of best-selling author Ian Rankin, but neither the brooding, dogged detective nor his creator is well-served by this amateurish book. Cabell begins with an interesting premise: "I'm simply interested in the man and his creation here and the parallels between them." There are parallels, and Cabell strives mightily to unearth how Rankin developed his popular character (Rebus was "retired" in the 2007 novel Exit Music) through a combination of close reading of the books and interviews. But the results are rarely satisfactory. The writing is sloppy, and the insight isn't insightful enough to really "explain" the riddle that is John Rebus. Some of the best observations come from Rankin himself ("I think Rebus joined the Police Force because it allowed him to be a voyeur-it allowed him to look into other people's lives rather than look into his own."). Cabell is better when he explores Rankin's other main character, Scotland, and, in particular, Edinburgh and the stark contrast between its public, tourist-friendly face and its background of crime and corruption. (He also provides some literary insight, pointing out the connections between Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the Rankin novels Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek.) The volume includes nice photos of Rankin and Rebus's Edinburgh haunts as well as summaries of Rankin TV shows and a Rankin bibliography. END
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