Ian Rankin Books In Order – The Complete List of Books

Last Updated on October 24, 2023

Ian Rankin (also writing as Jack Harvey) is a Scottish mystery author best known for his Inspector Rebus series which currently includes 24 novels and several short stories.

Here are the Ian Rankin books in order for his Inspector John Rebus book series, as well as his other published books. The series is listed in order of publication, and the chronological order is in brackets.

New Ian Rankin Books

A Heart Full of Headstones (Inspector Rebus #24), 2023
The Rise
The Rise, 2023

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Inspector Rebus Books In Publication Order

  1. Knots & Crosses (#1), 1987
  2. Hide And Seek (#2),  1990
  3. Tooth And Nail (#3), 1992
  4. Strip Jack (#4), 1992
  5. The Black Book (#5), 1993
  6. Mortal Causes (#6),  1994
  7. Let It Bleed (#7), 1995
  8. Black And Blue (#8), 1997
  9. The Hanging Garden (#9), 1998
  10. Dead Souls (#10), 1999
  11. Death Is Not the End (#10.5), 1998 (explores a subplot from the book Dead Souls)
  12. Set In Darkness (#11), 2000
  13. The Falls (#12), 2001
  14. Resurrection Men (#13), 2002
  15. Beggar’s Banquet (#13.5), 1998 (collection)
  16. A Question of Blood (#14), 2003
  17. Fleshmarket Close (#15), 2004
  18. The Naming of the Dead (#16), 2006
  19. Exit Music (#17), 2007
  20. Standing in Another Man’s Grave (#18), 2012
  21. Saints of the Shadow Bible (#19), 2013
  22. In the Nick of Time: John Rebus vs. Roy Grace (#19.5), 2014
  23. Even Dogs in the Wild (#20), 2015
  24. Rather Be the Devil (#21), 2017
  25. In a House of Lies (#22), 2018
  26. Long Shadows (#22.5), 2018
  27. A Song For The Dark Times ( #23), 2020
  28. A Heart Full of Headstones (#24), 2022
  29. A Game Called Malice (#25), 2023 (with Simon Reade) (stage play)

Inspector Rebus Story Stories and Collections

Malcolm Fox Books In Publication Order

Malcolm Fox is a separate but related series (currently including unique two books, with two others also part of the Inspector John Rebus series). The books are set in Scottland, and the books feature Malcolm, who is working at the police – Complaints division (Internal Affairs) in Edinburgh. Here are the books in reading order.

  1. The Complaints (#1), 2009
  2. The Impossible Dead (#2), 2011
  3. Standing In Another Man’s Grave ( #3, Inspector Rebus #18), 2012
  4. Saints Of The Shadow Bible (#4, Inspector Rebus #19), 2013

Roy Grace Series in Publication Order

Bibliomysteries / Death Sentences Books in Publication Order

Jack Laidlaw Books in Publication Order

with William McIlvanney Laidlaw

Mysterious Profiles Books in Publication Order

Standalone Novels In Publication Order

Novellas & Short Stories In Publication Order

Anthology Series in Publication Order

  • The Oxford Book of Detective Stories, 2000
  • Master’s Choice: Mystery Stories by Today’s Top Writers and the Masters Who Inspired Them, 2000
  • The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 1, 2000
  • The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 2, 2000
  • The Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction, 2004
  • One City, 2005
  • Dangerous Women, 2005
  • The Penguin Book of Crime Stories, 2007
  • Ox-Tales: Earth, 2009
  • Crimespotting, 2009
  • The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 8, 2011
  • The Best of Barcelona INK, 2012
  • The Killer Cookbook, 2012
  • OxCrimes: 27 Killer Stories from the Cream of Crimewriters, 2014
  • FaceOff, 2014
  • Jawbreakers, 2014
  • Ten Year Stretch, 2018
  • Daggers Drawn, 2021

Stage Plays

  • Dark Road (with Mark Thompson), 2014
  • A Game Called Malice (with Simon Reade) 2023

Graphic Novels in Publication Order

  • Dark Entries (graphic novel), 2009 (with Werther Dell’Edera as illustrator – follows John Constantine, the famous DC Comics character)

Non Fiction Books in Publication Order

Published As Jack Harvey – Jack Harvey Books

Why Read the Inspector Rebus Books in Order

Reading the series in order can enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the books, as well as give you a deeper appreciation of Ian Rankin’s writing style and storytelling abilities. Here are the main reasons why reading the series is recommended:

  • Character development: The Rebus series is known for its complex character development, particularly that of the protagonist, John Rebus. By reading the series in order, you can better appreciate how the character evolves over time and the events that shape his personality and worldview.
  • Story arcs: Like many crime series, the books have overarching story arcs that span multiple novels. These can be difficult to follow if you read the books out of order, and you may miss important details referenced in later books.
  • Continuity and coherence: By reading the books in proper order, you can better understand the continuity and coherence of the series. You’ll be able to see how the events of one book lead to the next, and how the characters and settings are interconnected.
  • Plot twists and surprises: The John Rebus novels are known for their intricate plots and unexpected twists. By reading the books in sequential order, you’ll be able to fully appreciate these surprises and how they fit into the overall narrative.
  • Literary and cultural references: The author is known for using literary and cultural references in the series. You can follow these references and understand their significance by reading the books in chronological order.

Ian Rankin Biography – About the Author

Ian Rankin

Born in 1960 in Cardenden, Fife in Scottland, crime novelist Ian Rankin went to school at Beath High School, Cowdenbeath, after which he decided to study English literature at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1982.

He was always a writer. At the very young age of 9-10, he was writing short stories, booklets, and comic book stories.

Before he dedicated his life to writing, the author had a few interesting odd jobs, including being a grape picker, swineherd, taxman, hi-fi journalist, alcohol researcher, college secretary, as well as a punk musician. He also taught at the university.

When he started to write novels, he didn’t intend them to be crime mystery books, considering his first two books Knots & Crosses and Hide And Seek (now part of the Inspector John Rebus mystery series) mainstream fiction books.

However his destiny was to write crime fiction, so Rankin followed his calling and continued writing the wonderful Inspector Rebus crime series, which is a major contribution to the Scottish Tartan Noir genre (a sub-genre of the noir crime).

After starting the Rebus crime novels series, he also began to write books in the new Malcolm Fox series, which has the main character intersect with Inspector Rebus. The initial book, published in 2009 is called The Complaints.

Except for the novella Death Is Not The End, every book in the John Rebus novels is available for the Kindle on Amazon – at least at the time of writing this page (I checked every single one of them).

The author has written several short stories revolving around Inspector Rebus. The latest collection of short stories was published in 2014 as The Beat Goes On.

The John Rebus novels have been so far translated into over 20 languages and they have sold in numerous countries all over the world. It has also been adapted to a television series titled Rebus, running between 2000-2007.

The book Rather Be the Devil, Inspector Rebus #21 marks Ian Rankin’s 30 years aniversary of writing the Rebus series. The first novel, Knots & Crosses, was published in 1987. He initially considered his first novel a standalone, however, eventually he continued the series fleshing out Inspector Rebus to the fullest. The novels are set in Edinburgh with its criminal elements.

Inspector Rebus is an old-fashioned guy, one who comes from a family of blue-collar workers. He left school at the age of 15 and once he got the opportunity, he joined the police. Many of his co-workers are younger, more educated people who went to and finished university, so often in the Rebus novels, you will find a ping-pong of new and old ideas in office conversations.

The author, who has written about Rebus for the last 30 years, mentioned this in an interview:

When I start the next book even I don’t know if he is going to be alive or dead at the end of it.

There’s the potential for him to die at some point in the process.

There is also additional news about a new TV crew who is interested in putting Inspector Rebus in front of the screen as well. After the previous TV show ended, Ian Rankin took back the rights to his books because he was not happy about the inspector being only one hour on the screen. Now, however, it seems that a new TV show will be in the works, to be aired either next year or the year after.

He has also written additional novels apart from his two popular series. His very first book written and published is called The Flood has already the touches of his quality writing, and while it never reached the success of his series, it is both an interesting coming of age and a dark mystery novel in one.

Rankin has received several awards over the years for his Inspector Rebus series, including four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards, which also includes the Diamond Dagger Award; then he won the Edgar Award, Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir, Germany’s Deutscher Krimipreis, and was shortlisted for the Edgar and Anthony Awards. He also received several honorary degrees from various universities, such as the Hull, Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, and The Open University.

While a successful novelist, he has also had his own TV series in 2002 titled Ian Rankin’s Evil Thoughts, and in 2005  Rankin on the Staircase. Two years later, in 2007, he appeared in a few additional shows under his name, including Ian Rankin Investigates Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Ian Rankin’s Hidden Edinburgh.

He currently lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two sons, and working on his next novel.

Ian Rankin’s Awards and Nominations

  • Black and Blue: Dagger Awards Best Novel winner, 1997
  • Black and Blue: Edgar Awards Best Novel nominee, 1998
  • Dead Souls: Dagger Awards Best Book nominee, 1999
  • Resurrection Men: Edgar Awards Best Novel winner, 2004
  • The Naming Of The Dead: BCA Crime Thriller of the Year Best Novel winner, 2007
  • Exit Music: BCA Crime Thriller of the Year Best Novel nominee, 2008
  • Standing in Another Man’s Grave: Barry Awards Best Novel nominee, 2014
  • Saints of the Shadow Bible: Edgar Awards Best Novel nominee, 2015
  • Even Dogs in the Wild: McIlvanney Prize Best Novel nominee, 2016
  • Rather Be the Devil: McIlvanney Prize Best Novel nominee, 2017
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  1. Recently watched the tv programme MURDER ISLAND and had a go at trying to solve the mystery. I found it compelling viewing an a new slant on a murder mystery. I did enjoy watching the episodes and hope there will be more like this from this author. the plot could be expanded as the other threads were also very interesting and misleading. Although I did get some of the clues right, I did not get the right person who was ultimately arrested. more like this on TV please? just wonder if this tv would subsequently be a book.

  2. As a semi-huge James Patterson fan, I recently discovered the Vera series which led me to a new author to discover, Ann Cleaves, which led me here. Will see what our local little library has to offer for both authors. Love exploring other lands and peoples – I could wander forever. Thank you for what I’m about to explore!

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