All posts tagged Ian Rankin

The 2015 Reading Challenge – In Review

Last year, I thought it would be a grand idea to try the 2015 Reading Challenge: a list of prompts that would allow one to read 52 books. In the beginning of the year, I went all out with excitement determining what my reading list would be; I had the books separated from my gigantic TBR shelves and was all prepared to completely blow this thing out of the water. Looking at the 2015 Reading Retrospective, you would think that by having read 102 books, I totally did blow that challenge out of the water. Read more…

Reading Retrospective 2015

Well this year was a busy one regarding life in general; despite that, I managed to have a record-breaking year for reading books! I thought 80 books in 2013 was amazing. Thinking that I wouldn’t be able to come near that, I set my goal for 60. I blew that out of the water by reading 102!! Mind you, a lot are graphics novels (very quick reads for me), and many are free Ebooks found thanks to bookbub.com. Still, a good year. Read more…

The choices so far:

IMG_3626Managed to work through my book shelves of books not read, and found some great choices for the 2015 Reading Challenge List.

A few of the choices so far: Read more…

Reading Retrospective 2014

Well, apparently 2014 wasn’t a particular strong year for reading total; to say the least, it was a crazy busy year with major changes and new beginnings. Without realizing it though, it seemed the year of M/M novels, with 32 books falling within that genre; over half of my total books read. My greatest find was Westwind by Ian Rankin, making me squee not only because it was a rare out of print find, but because it officially allowed me to complete all of his novels published at the time. Another semi-happy but semi-sad squee (do those even exist!?) was the penultimate Ty and Zane novel by Abigail Roux; I loved it so much, that I had to read it back-to-back. And then don’t even get me started (or maybe do?) on the first full-length novel for Nick and Kelly; I will forever be an Abigail Roux fan. I read some really weird things; books that actually made me gag and skip sections because it went WAY past my comfort zone (of which I didn’t know that I had one). Of course, there were flops and of course there were amazing reads. As always, take a look at the list. I hope a few peak your interest like they did mine. Read more…

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Vacation Week Book Haul

Yes, my vacations are based around book shopping! Remember the list that I posted here? Well here is the turn out! 17 books in total: Read more…

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Let’s Go Get Some More Books!!

With a shopping trip coming, I’ve started the book list! I have an unused Coles gift card and I’ll be near some awesome used bookstores! One such being a favourite used bookstore of mine: Allison the Bookman! I’m going to try to stick to the list, but I highly doubt it will happen! Once I start browsing, I can’t control what will happen!

 

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Review: Westwind

Westwind by Ian Rankin

When seeing the name Ian Rankin, readers are probably used to seeing a crime novel, starring John Rebus or even Malcolm Fox. What readers may not expect is a spy thriller with astronauts, missiles and satellites. If it was published in 2014, it may be viewed as a departure from his usual work, but this novel was one of his earlier published works (fourth I believe). This novel is Westwind, and I am extremely excited to be reviewing it for three reasons. Read more…

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Shut. Up.

I generally purchase novels. Sadly, our library is not the best and many of the novels I wish to read, I cannot access. Searching the database, just to see, I typed in my favourite author: Ian Rankin. Read more…

Review: Standing in Another Man’s Grave

Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin

With Exit Music, readers were faced with the forced retirement of Detective Inspector John Rebus. After 17 novels, spanning most of Rebus’ life (we didn’t get to see his teenage years), it was difficult to see him go (and if you haven’t yet read Exit Music, let’s just say that Rankin knows how to end a series!). With that end, came a level of satisfaction as well as disappointment; no more Rebus!? This was a character that became a part of many reader’s lives, and it is very hard to let that go. Well, Rankin must have understood (or possibly felt the same) because it wasn’t very long before the most exciting three words were seen on a book cover: REBUS IS BACK. Read more…

Notable Authors 2: Ian Rankin

This journey begins seven years ago, during the beginning of the summer in 2003. I was in our local bookstore, Coles, with my father of all people, trying to pick out a couple of books to take to our family island. Firstly, you have to understand a couple of things:

  1. My father never goes into the bookstore with me, so this moment is quite significant.
  2. On our family island there are three things to do: drink, play outside or read. I wasn’t drinking then, and I wasn’t a fan of being outside all that much, so I would use the time to catch up on some well-needed reading. Sometimes I would even read while outside!

Now that you have the necessary background, back to the story! I was getting into the mystery genre; Tami Hoag was a favourite author of mine during that time, but I was looking for something new. I had already picked up a novel by Mark Billingham called Lazy Bones, but one book was not going to cover a weekend spent on the family island. I continued searching through the shelves, waiting for the novel that would catch my eye. And that is when my dad piped in: ‘what about this novel? It’s a mystery. You have your card right? It’s already 40% off, plus the 10% you get off, this book is half price then!’ I realize that my father simply wanted to get out of the bookstore, and that he didn’t pick the book for any kind of literary merit, but simply because it was 50% off.  This simple fact makes that moment all the more incredible. My father couldn’t have guessed the goldmine he had picked up.

Titled A Question of Blood, the book was written by someone named Ian Rankin. The synopsis on the back cover outlined a story where an ex-Army loner, at a private school, kills two teenagers. After killing the two teenagers, the man turns the gun on himself. A Detective Inspector John Rebus simply had to figure out the why, as well as trying to get himself out of some hot water. Even though I read it in 2003, I remember absolutely loving the novel in its entirety: the storyline, the case, the twists, but especially, the sarcastic and jaded main character, Detective Inspector John Rebus. I couldn’t believe that my dad had a hand in my next favourite book, but I couldn’t deny that I absolutely loved the novel. I loved it so much that I went searching to see if there was more John Rebus out there for me to read; boy was I in for a surprise. As it turned out there was a series covering the adventures and misadventures of John Rebus, a very long series. Although it was not finished at the time, I had 13 novels to read before A Question of Blood and as I made my way through the series, Rankin completed four more novels. The series in its entirety is:

  1. Knots and Crosses                            
  2. Hide and Seek
  3. Tooth and Nail
  4. Strip Jack
  5. The Black Book
  6. Mortal Causes
  7. Let It Bleed
  8. Black and Blue
  9. The Hanging Garden
  10. Dead Souls
  11. Set in Darkness
  12. The Falls
  13. Resurrection Men
  14. A Question of Blood
  15. Fleshmarket Close
  16. The Naming of the Dead
  17. Exit Music

Rankin wasn’t done there, though. He had novels written under the pseudonym, Jack Harvey as well as a number of stand alones. These novels include:

  1. The Flood
  2. Watchman
  3. Beggars Banquet
  4. Dark Entries
  5. A Cool Head
  6. Death Is Not the End (Novella)
  7. Blood Hunt
  8. Bleeding Hearts
  9. Witch Hunt
  10. Doors Open
  11. The Complaints

So, I had a bit of reading to do, but I took the challenge gladly. I can tell you, that I have finished all of his novels, finishing his latest to be published, Dark Entries, just last week. It took me seven years to read all of his novels, but I loved every moment. I have plans, once I catch up on all of my reading, to read his novels again, this time in the proper order (I read all of the Rebus series randomly, in which ever order I could purchase the novels).

So why is Rankin so great? There are so many reasons!

Probably the main one would have to be his characters, especially John Rebus. Rebus, for all intents and purposes, is a very unlikable character; he is rude, sarcastic, pessimistic, paranoid and simply a downer, but he is an absolute gem! Even Rankin has said that he had a hard time wondering why people loved Rebus so much! We simply do! It is Rankin’s writing.

When it comes to mysteries, I would have to say that Rankin is the master in the genre. Sometimes a novel will have up to six cases (like in Exit Music) going on at the same time and although they are separate, Rankin makes them connect by the end, creating absolute magic. He has said that when writing a novel, he doesn’t even know who the bad guy is until it has been written. And I can say, that after having read 28 of his novels, I have never figured out who the bad guy is. I read Black and Blue twice and still didn’t figure out whom the bad guy was! (But now I know and will remember the next time!) One little clue could be the thread that ties everything together, and unless you are paying super close attention, you will not notice. Heck, even Rebus has missed some of these clues. Ending-wise, sometimes the cases are not finished, sometimes the bad guy gets away and sometimes he or she is caught. They are not all happy endings because as Rankin puts it, that’s not real life. Although these are fiction pieces, he is writing real life stories.

The mystery and case are well written and imagined. They are real life even though they are fiction. Rankin’s writing makes coming back to the series over and over again a pleasurable experience. It’s never a task to pick up a Rankin novel. His characters are well rounded and true. So well written they simply jump off the page, his characters are as real as your parents, brothers or sisters.

Last but definitely not least, is Rankin’s setting for his novel: Scotland. Now, I’m not saying that because it’s set in Scotland, every novel he writes is awesome. I say that his setting is important because Rankin makes it as much of a character as John Rebus or Siobhan Clarke. Scotland breathes life into his stories, providing atmosphere and feeling to what he writes. Individuals that read Rankin are going to learn a lot about the modern day Scotland; not just the beautiful scenery but politics, economics, the beautiful side and the dark and dreary side and of course, the pubs. Reading his novels, you will find yourself walking the streets of Scotland, it becoming your very own tour guide; and weirdly enough, you walk away feeling like you’ve made a new friend.

My father introduced me to a master of mystery seven years ago. Because of that moment and 50% off, I will have an author that I can say I will read over and over again. I look forward to each and every one of his novels. I have my favourites of his, of course, but overall I feel that he is a great addition, even a must to every mystery lover’s shelf.

Give him a try. I promise you, you will not be disappointed!

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