Ian Rankin Books

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

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

Order of Jack Harvey Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Witch Hunt (By: Jack Harvey) 1993 Description / Buy
2 Blood Hunt (By: Jack Harvey) 1995 Description / Buy
3 Bleeding Hearts (By: Jack Harvey) 2001 Description / Buy

Order of Malcolm Fox Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Complaints 2009 Description / Buy
2 The Impossible Dead 2011 Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Flood 1986 Description / Buy
2 Watchman 1988 Description / Buy
3 Westwind 1991 Description / Buy
4 Doors Open 2008 Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Short Stories/Novellas

# Read Title Published Details
1 A Cool Head (Short Story) 2009 Description / Buy
2 Meet and Greet (Short Story) 2016 Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Plays

# Read Title Published Details
1 Dark Road 2014 Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Short Story Collections

# Read Title Published Details
1 Beggars Banquet 2002 Description / Buy
2 A Good Hanging and Other Stories 2003 Description / Buy

Order of Ian Rankin Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published Details
1 Rebus's Scotland 2005 Description / Buy

Order of Hellblazer Graphic Novels Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Dark Entries 2009 Description / Buy

Order of Bibliomysteries Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 An Acceptable Sacrifice (By: Jeffery Deaver) 2012 Description / Buy
2 The Travelling Companion 2016 Description / Buy

Order of Tess Monaghan Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Baltimore Blues (By: Laura Lippman) 1997 Description / Buy
2 Charm City (By: Laura Lippman) 1997 Description / Buy
3 Butchers Hill (By: Laura Lippman) 1998 Description / Buy
4 In Big Trouble (By: Laura Lippman) 1999 Description / Buy
5 The Sugar House (By: Laura Lippman) 2000 Description / Buy
6 In a Strange City (By: Laura Lippman) 2001 Description / Buy
7 The Last Place (By: Laura Lippman) 2002 Description / Buy
8 By a Spider's Thread (By: Laura Lippman) 2004 Description / Buy
9 No Good Deeds (By: Laura Lippman) 2006 Description / Buy
10 Another Thing to Fall (By: Laura Lippman) 2008 Description / Buy
11 The Girl in the Green Raincoat (By: Laura Lippman) 2008 Description / Buy
12 The Book Thing (By: Laura Lippman) 2012 Description / Buy
13 Hush Hush (By: Laura Lippman) 2015 Description / Buy

Ian Rankin Anthologies

# Read Title Published Details
1 Master's Choice: Mystery Stories by Today's Top Writers and the Masters Who Inspired Them 2000 Description / Buy
2 Dangerous Women 2005 Description / Buy
3 One City 2005 Description / Buy
4 Ox-Tales: Earth 2009 Description / Buy
5 Crimespotting 2009 Description / Buy
6 The Killer Cookbook 2012 Description / Buy
7 FaceOff 2014 Description / Buy
8 Jawbreakers 2014 Description / 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?

The next book by Ian Rankin is A Song for the Dark Times and will be released on October, 13th 2020. It is the newest book in the Inspector Rebus Series.