Having just read Exit Music, I jumped right back to the start of the Rebus saga, to a now-distant 1987 and pre-PC (computer, not constable or correctness) police investigations.
A relatively quick read, as this first novel is shorter than the later ones, but I liked the snappier pace and Ian Rankin has/had not yet developed the seven day story arc format.
In Knots and crosses the focus is very much on DS John Rebus and his failed family life. You learn about his childhood, his time in the regular army and the SAS, and his return to civvy street and the scars he still carries. Fifteen years into his career as a copper, several strands of his past combine and return to haunt him.
It’s always interesting to meet younger versions of characters you’ve got to know in their later years… The public and private faces of Edinburgh are more explicitly drawn than in later novels too.
Amazon.co.uk link: Knots and crosses – Ian Rankin