Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Ian Rankin

Photo http://www.ianrankin.net/

Biography
Ian Rankin was born in 1960 in Cardenden, Fife, a mining town north of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Rankin began writing novels while an undergraduate at University of Edinburgh.  By the time he dropped out of a Ph.D. program at the University, he had completed three novels.  Besides writing fiction, Rankin has worked a variety of odd jobs including swineherd, music journalist, and tax collector.  Now the number-one bestselling crime writer in the UK, Rankin continues to live in Edinburgh with his wife and two sons.

What he writes: Ian Rankin is best known for his long running series featuring Detective Inspector John Rebus.  Inspector Rebus is a hard-drinking, loner cop whose pursuit of the truth often finds him at odds with colleagues and superiors.  While the series is categorized primarily as a police procedural because of its focus on crime solving,  Rankin himself identifies the books as “Scottish novels first, and mysteries second.”  Modern day Edinburgh is the setting for the series, but not the tourist-friendly cultural center that is commonly portrayed.  Instead, Rebus’s Edinburgh is a place where social and political issues like unemployment, immigration, drugs, and violent crime threaten to break through the city’s safe façade.  The dual nature of the city allows stark contrast between the rich and the poor, and what is often revealed is a seedy underworld in which the financially secure are complicit in the crimes — and have much more to lose.

As dark and brooding as the atmosphere in which he works, Rebus seeks his solace in rock and jazz music, reading, and having a pint at the Oxford Bar.  So vivid is the series’ atmosphere that it has inspired Rebus-themed walking tours and events in Edinburgh.  Owing its popularity to its sense of place, well-developed characters, and skillful psychological insights, the Rebus series has been translated into twenty-two languages and has sold an estimated seventeen million copies worldwide.

In addition to the Inspector Rebus series, Ian Rankin has written many short stories and three stand-alone thrillers under the pseudonym Jack Harvey.

 

List of works
 
Inspector John Rebus Series
  Knots and Crosses (1987) The Hanging Garden (1998)
  Hide and Seek (1990) Dead Souls (1999)
  Strip Jack (1992) Death is Not the End: an Inspector Rebus Novella (2000)
  Tooth and Nail (1992) UK title: Wolfman Set in Darkness (2000)
  Black Book (1994) The Falls (2000)
  Mortal Causes (1995) Resurrection Men (2002)
  Let It Bleed (1996) A Question of Blood (2003)
  Black and Blue (1997) Fleshmarket Alley (2004)
     
...writing as Jack Harvey
  Witch Hunt (1993)
  Blood Hunt (1995)
   
Short story collection
  A Good Hanging: Short Stories (1992)
   

Awards

Chandler-Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction, 1991-1992; Short Story Dagger Award for A Deep Hole, 1994; Short Story Dagger Award for Herbert in Motion, 1996; Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year, 1997, for Black and Blue; Edgar Award for Best Novel, 2004, for Resurrection Men; Crime Writers’ Association Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005.

 
What the critics say
“master of the gritty British crime novel” — Library Journal (September 15, 2001)
“...Rankin's hard-boiled tales are … [as] chilling as a Scottish mist.” — Booklist (August 2004)
“Rebus remains one of the more compelling characters in crime fiction — and Rebus's Edinburgh one of the more compelling settings.” — Publishers Weekly (January 10, 2005)

 

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