Ian Rankin Books

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Ian James Rankin is a Scottish writer of crime novels, best known for authoring the Inspector Rebus series novels.

Ian Rankin OBE is a Scottish author who rose to prominence due to his Rebus series of novels. Rankin deals primarily in the realm of crime fiction, and most of his books are based in his home country of Scotland, with Rankin setting his Rebus series of novels primarily in the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh, where he studies in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and where he later returned. As well as resounding commercial success, Rankin has also achieved great critical success, picking up several awards and nominations, as well as several honorary doctorates along the way.

Order of Inspector Rebus Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Knots and Crosses 1987Description / Buy
2Hide and Seek 1991Description / Buy
3Tooth and Nail / Wolfman 1992Description / Buy
4Strip Jack 1992Description / Buy
5A Good Hanging 1992Description / Buy
6The Black Book 1993Description / Buy
7Mortal Causes 1994Description / Buy
8Let It Bleed 1995Description / Buy
9Black and Blue 1997Description / Buy
10The Hanging Garden 1998Description / Buy
11Death is Not the End (Short Story) 1998Description / Buy
12Dead Souls 1999Description / Buy
13Set in Darkness 2000Description / Buy
14The Falls 2001Description / Buy
15Resurrection Men 2002Description / Buy
16A Question of Blood 2003Description / Buy
17Fleshmarket Alley / Fleshmarket Close 2004Description / Buy
18The Naming of the Dead 2006Description / Buy
19Exit Music 2007Description / Buy
20Standing in Another Man's Grave 2012Description / Buy
21Saints of the Shadow Bible 2013Description / Buy
22In the Nick of Time (Short Story) ( With: Peter James) 2014Description / Buy
23The Beat Goes On 2014Description / Buy
24Even Dogs in the Wild 2015Description / Buy
25Rather Be the Devil 2016Description / Buy
26In a House of Lies 2018Description / Buy
27Long Shadows (Play) 2019Description / Buy
28A Song for the Dark Times 2020Description / Buy

Order of Jack Harvey Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Witch Hunt 1993Description / Buy
2Blood Hunt 1995Description / Buy
3Bleeding Hearts 2001Description / Buy

Order of Malcolm Fox Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1The Complaints 2009Description / Buy
2The Impossible Dead 2011Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Standalone Novels

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1The Flood 1986Description / Buy
2Watchman 1988Description / Buy
3Westwind 1991Description / Buy
4Doors Open 2008Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Short Stories/Novellas

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1A Cool Head (Short Story) 2009Description / Buy
2Meet and Greet (Short Story) 2016Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Plays

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Dark Road 2014Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Short Story Collections

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Beggars Banquet 2002Description / Buy
2A Good Hanging and Other Stories 2003Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Non-Fiction Books

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Rebus's Scotland 2005Description / Buy

Order of Hellblazer Graphic Novels

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Hellblazer: Original Sins ( By:) 1988Description / Buy
2John Constantine, Hellblazer, Volume 1: Original Sins (Short Story) ( By:) 1988Description / Buy
3Hellblazer, Volume One: Original Sins (Short Story) ( By:) 1988Description / Buy
4Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits ( By:) 1991Description / Buy
5Hellblazer: Bloodlines ( By:) 1991Description / Buy
6Hellblazer: The Fear Machine ( By:) 1998Description / Buy
7Hellblazer: Hard Time (Short Story) ( By:) 2000Description / Buy
8Hellblazer: Good Intentions (Short Story) ( By:) 2002Description / Buy
9Hellblazer: Son of Man (Short Story) ( By:) 2003Description / Buy
10Reasons to Be Cheerful (Short Story) ( By: Mike Carey) 2004Description / Buy
11Hellblazer: Highwater ( By:) 2004Description / Buy
12Red Sepulchre (Short Story) ( By: Mike Carey) 2005Description / Buy
13Stations of the Cross ( By: Mike Carey) 2005Description / Buy
14Black Flowers (Short Story) ( By: Mike Carey) 2005Description / Buy
15Staring at the Wall ( By: Mike Carey) 2005Description / Buy
16All His Engines (Short Story) ( By: Mike Carey) 2005Description / Buy
17The Gift ( By: Mike Carey) 2006Description / Buy
18Hellblazer (Short Story) ( By: ) 2006Description / Buy
19Papa Midnite (Short Story) ( By: ) 2006Description / Buy
20Hellblazer: The Devil You Know ( By:) 2007Description / Buy
21Hellblazer: The Family Man ( By:) 2008Description / Buy
22Dark Entries 2009Description / Buy
23Phantom Pains ( By: ) 2012Description / Buy
24Death and Cigarettes ( By:) 2013Description / Buy

Order of Bibliomysteries Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1The Book of Virtue ( By: Ken Bruen) 2012Description / Buy
2Pronghorns of the Third Reich (Short Story) ( By: C.J. Box) 2012Description / Buy
3The Book Thing ( By: Laura Lippman) 2012Description / Buy
4The Book Case ( By: Nelson DeMille) 2012Description / Buy
5An Acceptable Sacrifice ( By: Jeffery Deaver) 2012Description / Buy
6Death Leaves a Bookmark (Short Story) ( By: William Link) 2012Description / Buy
7The Final Testament (Short Story) ( By: Peter Blauner) 2013Description / Buy
8Rides a Stranger (Short Story) ( By: David Bell) 2013Description / Buy
9The Long Sonata of the Dead (Short Story) ( By: Andrew Taylor) 2013Description / Buy
10The Book of Ghosts (Short Story) ( By: Reed Farrel Coleman) 2013Description / Buy
11The Compendium of Srem (Short Story) ( By: F. Paul Wilson) 2014Description / Buy
12What's in a Name? (Short Story) ( By: Thomas H. Cook) 2014Description / Buy
13Remaindered (Short Story) ( By: Peter Lovesey) 2014Description / Buy
14The Sequel (Short Story) ( By: R.L. Stine) 2014Description / Buy
15The Gospel of Sheba (Short Story) ( By: Lyndsay Faye) 2014Description / Buy
16The Nature of My Inheritance (Short Story) ( By: Bradford Morrow) 2014Description / Buy
17It's in the Book (Short Story) ( By: Mickey Spillane) 2014Description / Buy
18The Scroll (Short Story) ( By: Anne Perry) 2014Description / Buy
19The Book of the Lion (Short Story) ( By: Thomas Perry) 2015Description / Buy
20The Little Men (Short Story) ( By: Megan Abbott) 2015Description / Buy
21Condor in the Stacks (Short Story) ( By: James Grady) 2015Description / Buy
22Mystery, Inc. (Short Story) ( By: Joyce Carol Oates) 2015Description / Buy
23Every Seven Years (Short Story) ( By: Denise Mina) 2015Description / Buy
24From the Queen (Short Story) ( By: Carolyn Hart) 2015Description / Buy
25The Travelling Companion 2016Description / Buy
26Citadel (Short Story) ( By: Stephen Hunter) 2016Description / Buy
27Reconciliation Day (Short Story) ( By: Christopher Fowler) 2016Description / Buy
28Dead Dames Don't Sing (Short Story) ( By: John Harvey) 2016Description / Buy
29The Haze (Short Story) ( By: James W. Hall) 2016Description / Buy
30Hoodoo Harry (Short Story) ( By: Joe R. Lansdale) 2017Description / Buy
31The Pretty Little Box (Short Story) ( By: Charles Todd) 2018Description / Buy
32Seven Years (Short Story) ( By: Peter Robinson) 2018Description / Buy
33The Hemingway Valise ( By: Robert Olen Butler) 2018Description / Buy
34The Last Honest Horse Thief ( By: Michael Koryta) 2018Description / Buy
35The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository ( By: John Connolly) 2018Description / Buy

Chronological Order of Bibliomysteries Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1The Book of Virtue ( By: Ken Bruen)2012Description / Buy
2The Scroll (Short Story) ( By: Anne Perry)2014Description / Buy
3Pronghorns of the Third Reich (Short Story) ( By: C.J. Box)2012Description / Buy
4An Acceptable Sacrifice ( By: Jeffery Deaver)2012Description / Buy
5Death Leaves a Bookmark (Short Story) ( By: William Link)2012Description / Buy
6Seven Years (Short Story) ( By: Peter Robinson)2018Description / Buy
7The Book Thing ( By: Laura Lippman)2012Description / Buy
8The Book of Ghosts (Short Story) ( By: Reed Farrel Coleman)2013Description / Buy
9The Long Sonata of the Dead (Short Story) ( By: Andrew Taylor)2013Description / Buy
10The Final Testament (Short Story) ( By: Peter Blauner)2013Description / Buy
11Rides a Stranger (Short Story) ( By: David Bell)2013Description / Buy
12What's in a Name? (Short Story) ( By: Thomas H. Cook)2014Description / Buy
13It's in the Book (Short Story) ( By: Mickey Spillane)2014Description / Buy
14The Nature of My Inheritance (Short Story) ( By: Bradford Morrow)2014Description / Buy
15Remaindered (Short Story) ( By: Peter Lovesey)2014Description / Buy
16The Compendium of Srem (Short Story) ( By: F. Paul Wilson)2014Description / Buy
17The Gospel of Sheba (Short Story) ( By: Lyndsay Faye)2014Description / Buy
18The Sequel (Short Story) ( By: R.L. Stine)2014Description / Buy
19The Book of the Lion (Short Story) ( By: Thomas Perry)2015Description / Buy
20The Little Men (Short Story) ( By: Megan Abbott)2015Description / Buy
21From the Queen (Short Story) ( By: Carolyn Hart)2015Description / Buy
22Every Seven Years (Short Story) ( By: Denise Mina)2015Description / Buy
23Citadel (Short Story) ( By: Stephen Hunter)2016Description / Buy
24Condor in the Stacks (Short Story) ( By: James Grady)2015Description / Buy
25Mystery, Inc. (Short Story) ( By: Joyce Carol Oates)2015Description / Buy
26The Travelling Companion2016Description / Buy
27The Haze (Short Story) ( By: James W. Hall)2016Description / Buy
28Dead Dames Don't Sing (Short Story) ( By: John Harvey)2016Description / Buy
29Reconciliation Day (Short Story) ( By: Christopher Fowler)2016Description / Buy
30Hoodoo Harry (Short Story) ( By: Joe R. Lansdale)2017Description / Buy
31The Pretty Little Box (Short Story) ( By: Charles Todd)2018Description / Buy
32The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository ( By: John Connolly)2018Description / Buy
33The Hemingway Valise ( By: Robert Olen Butler)2018Description / Buy
34The Last Honest Horse Thief ( By: Michael Koryta)2018Description / Buy
35The Book Case ( By: Nelson DeMille)2012Description / Buy

Order of World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 1 2000Description / Buy
2The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 2 2000Description / Buy
3The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 3 2002Description / Buy
4The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 4 2003Description / Buy
5The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 5 2004Description / Buy

Order of Murderous Christmas Stories Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Murder under the Christmas Tree: Ten Classic Crime Stories for the Festive Season 2016Description / Buy
2Murder on Christmas Eve 2017Description / Buy
3A Very Murderous Christmas: Ten Classic Crime Stories for the Festive Season 2018Description / Buy

Ian Rankin Anthologies

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1 Master's Choice: Mystery Stories by Today\'s Top Writers and the Masters Who Inspired Them2000Description / Buy
2 The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 12000Description / Buy
3 The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 22000Description / Buy
4 One City2005Description / Buy
5 Dangerous Women2005Description / Buy
6 The Penguin Book of Crime Stories2007Description / Buy
7 Ox-Tales: Earth2009Description / Buy
8 Crimespotting2009Description / Buy
9 The Killer Cookbook2012Description / Buy
10 FaceOff2014Description / Buy
11 Jawbreakers2014Description / Buy
12 Daggers Drawn2021Description / Buy
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Born in the town of Cardenden in the kingdom of Fife, Scotland, Ian Rankin is the son of a grocer and a school canteen worker. He began his education at Beat High School in the town of Cowdenbeath, before eventually moving on to Edinburgh University, where he studies literature, apparently to the chagrin of his parents who wanted him to pick up a more practical skill. Rankin graduated from Edinburgh University in 1982, and moved down south to London, and then further south to France for several years, trying to hone his craft while doing various low-skilled jobs and also as a musician in the punk bank the Dancing Pigs.

The first book Ian Rankin had published was not a book in his famous Inspector Rebus books, but, in fact, a novel entitled The Flood, which was released in 1986. It is a world away from Rankin’s later work, and is more a family drama, with the protagonist, Mary Miller, a single mother who has to come to terms with her tragic past, as well as the ongoing strife that is going on with her son who has fallen in love with the most unlikely girl.

One year later, in 1987, the first book in Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series of books was published, Knots and Crosses. However, it took Rankin some time to follow up with the next book in the Inspector Rebus series, as he instead went back to writing standalone novels – Watchman, which was published in 1988, and Westwind, which was published in 1990.

Four years after the publication of Rankin’s first book in the Inspector Rebus series, the second book in the series, Hide and Seek, was published in 1991. He continued with Inspector Rebus from there on out, publishing Tooth and Nail and Strip Jack in 1992, the third and fourth book in the series. The Black Book, the fifth book in the Inspector Rebus series, was published in 1993. However, it wasn’t until the eighth book in the Inspector Rebus series of novels was published, Black and Blue, that Rankin achieved critical recognition. Black and Blue won that year’s Crime Writers Association for Fiction.

Rankin continued almost yearly publication of Rebus books, with The Hanging Garden following on from Black and blue. Dead Souls was the tenth book in the Inspector Rebus series, followed by Set in Darkness and then The Falls, which was published in 2001. In 2002, the 13th book in the Inspector Rebus series, Resurrection Men, was released. It won Rankin the Edgar Award, which he had previously been nominated for in 1997 for Black and Blue had failed to win.

Ian Rankin continued writing the Inspector Rebus series until 2007, when Exit Music, the 17th book in the Inspector Rebus series was published. It won Rankin the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award, and was claimed to be the final chapter in the Inspector Rebus series. However, in 2012, Standing in Another Man’s Grave was released, featuring Inspector Rebus, and followed by Saints of the Shadow Bible and then Even Dogs in the Wild.

The later books in the Inspector Rebus series also feature Malcolm Fox, who Rankin introduced to us in The Complains, the first book in the Malcolm Fox series, which was published in 2008. The Impossible Dead, the second book in the Malcolm Fox series, was published. Rankin has seemingly merged both the Malcolm Fox and Inspector Rebus series as of Standing in Another Man’s Grave.

Rankin has also published a few standalone novels, as well as short story anthologies, which have also brought him great critical acclaim, but it will always be the Inspector Rebus series which Ian Rankin will be most loved for.

As well as writing under his own name, Ian Rankin has also had novels published under the pseudonym Jack Harvey, with three standalone novels published in the mid-’90s, Witch Hunt in 1993, Bleeding Hearts in 1994, and Blood Hunt in 1995.

As well as writing novels, Rankin is also a keen documentary maker, and has done several pieces for the BBC, as well as Channel 4, with them mainly revolving around his genre of crime. Rankin has written graphic novels, as well as the play Dark Road, which premiered in his home city of Edinburgh in 2013.

Born on 28th April 1960, Rankin has pointed out several times that he did NOT start off as a crime writer. But upon releasing “Knots and Crosses” and “Hide and Seek,” all of which were inspired by the Scottish traditions of Robert Stevenson and Muriel Spark, he considered becoming a crime writer after a further prompting from a renowned Scottish novelist by the name Allan Massie.

His Inspector Rebus series features some of his bestselling books, with ten novels from the series being adapted as a TV series that ran on ITV. Series 1 and 2 of the TV series were starred by John Hannah with series 3 to 5 being starred by Ken Scott.

In 2013, he partnered with Mark Thomson, with whom he co-wrote the Dark Road play, which served as his debut play-write. The play was premiered in September 2013 at the Lyceum theatre.

Ian Rankin Awards

Rankin has won so many awards than it can be listed in this article. Starting off in 1988, when he was elected a Hawthornden fellow, then in 1991 when he won the Chandler-Fulbright award, to winning 2012’s Specsavors National book award to name a few.

Up until now, Rankin has written an upward of 20 novels and quite a good number of short stories that make him one of the most prolific writers still alive.

Best Ian Rankin Books

Knots and Crosses: Inspector Rebus series is one of the most read books in the history of book series. It features one of his best-sellers, Knots and Crosses, which happen to be the first book in the series, as well as the first novel to be written by him—written in 1987 while he was still a postgraduate student at Edinburgh University.

In the novel’s Introduction, Rankin mentions that Rebus lived in Marchmont, directly at the opposite window from where he used to sit and write the book.

The story in “Knots and Crosses” revolves around Detective Rebus, whose city is terrorized by an unknown killer suspected to be behind a series of gruesome murders that have left every denizen of Edinburg scared to death.

Turns out Rebus is tied to the maniac by an unseen knot of blood.

In retrospect, Rebus once served as an elite SAS in Britain. Now he’s moved to Edinburgh, in what appears like an attempt to escape his past and may be hide from the memories that have been haunting him since he decided to give his life a fresh start.

Rebus is NOT lucky even at his new job. He keeps missing out on promotions, something that’s led to him ignoring the crank letters he keeps on receiving.

The ghoulish killing continue to mount, eliciting screaming tabloid headlines. This makes it hard for Rebus to continue ignoring the feverish shrieks coming from within, and this is not only because he’s the cop it’s part of his duty is to catch the killer and let the residents of Edinburg take a breather, but because he’s the only man who can crack the puzzle and unravel the truth. Will he manage? And how is he supposed to go on about it in his state?

Overall, Knot and Crosses is ranked atop in the list of the most interesting reads on crime. The book gives you a taste of the author’s knack in developing a story that you’ll want to read all the way to the end without putting the book down once started.

Hide and Seek: Written in 1991, Hide and Seek is the second book in the series. The first chapters of the book reintroduces us detective Rebus, who at the time happens to be examining a body belonging to an overdosed drug addict.

The body is laid out like a cross, on a floor between two almost burnt down candles. Painted on the wall is a five-pointed star.

Some of the Rebus teammates are quick to categorize the killings as a routine death of another junkie. But Rebus has gathered some unusual facts that’s making it hard for him to brush the case aside or take it as lightly as some of his colleagues are trying to.

The bruises on the victims face and body together with the full heroine package found at his place hint of something even graver than what’s being witnessed.

Rebus has to get to the bottom of it and bring everyone involved to justice. In doing so, lots of people must interviewed in the process, including a young woman going by the name of Tracy and who also happens to have known the dead man and heard him shouting “Hide! Hide!” just a few minutes before the time he’s thought to have been killed.

Ian Rankin FAQs

Q: Where was Ian Rankin born?

A: The author Ian Rankin was born in the Scottish town of Cardenden in the kingdom of Fife, just north of the capital city, Edinburgh, where the majority of Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series is set.

Q: What is the name of Ian Rankin’s first book?

A: The first book Ian Rankin had published was The Flood, which was published in 1986.

Q: Has Ian Rankin written under any other name?

A: In the mid-1990s, Ian Ranking wrote three books under the pen name of Jack Harvey.

When Does The Next Ian Rankin book come out?

Ian Rankin doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Daggers Drawn and was released on September, 21st 2021.

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1 thought on “Ian Rankin”

  1. I am a big fan of Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series, mostly because of the main character John Rebus. He’s got a rakish sense of humor and a dry wit, he tries so hard to be unlikable as he not afraid of doing things his own way. Despite his best efforts, I like him. I like him a lot actually. So much that I am trying to work my way through this whole series.

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