Ian Rankin signs deal to write two more John Rebus novels

Crime writer Ian Rankin has signed a new publishing deal to write two more John Rebus novels.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 11:41 am
Updated Friday, 7th January 2022, 1:34 pm

The retired detective will make his next appearance in October under the deal, said to be worth seven figures, with publisher Orion.

However the title and plot of the next thriller are being kept firmly under wraps for now.

It will be the first new Rebus novel for two years, since A Song For The Dark Times, the 23rd novel in the series. More than 30 million copies of Rankin’s Rebus novels have been sold around the world and published in at least 36 languages.

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Since finishing the last Rebus book, Rankin has worked on The Dark Remains, an unfinished story by the late William McIlvanney, which was published in the autumn, and a murder mystery TV series for Channel 4.

Murder Island, which was filmed on the Isle of Gigha, saw eight ordinary members of the public compete to find a killer.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the publication of the first Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses.

The series appeared to reach an end with the 2007 novel Exit Music.

Ian Rankin has confirmed he will be writing at least two more John Rebus novels.

However the character has emerged from retirement to work on a series of subsquent bases, with the most recent story taking him to the north of mainland Scotland, where his daughter Samantha has been living.

Recent novels in the series have seen Rebus increasingly struggle with the impact of incurable lung disease.

Rankin said: “I'm very happy to be working with Orion, my publisher for the past 30 years, on a pair of new books. Time to roll up my sleeves and sharpen my keyboard.”

Emad Akhtar, publisher at Orion, said: “A new novel from the iconic Ian Rankin and his much-beloved creation John Rebus is a reading highlight in every book lover’s year.

"No author combines page-turning plots with cultural commentary peopled with characters that feel so real, as consistently and engagingly as Ian does.

"Rankin’s writing is as vital today as it ever was and there is quite simply no one else like him.

Literary agent Jon Wood, who was involved in the deal for the new Rebus books, added: “I'm delighted that Ian's long — and hugely successful — association with both Orion and John Rebus continues this year.

"It's a genius combination that delivers every time. I've also waited too long to find out what happens next.”

Recent novels in the series have seen Rebus increasingly struggle with the impact of incurable lung disease. The last novel saw Rankin move the character into a new ground-floor flat.

Rankin, who has admitted that he killed off Rebus in the first draft of the first Rebus book, has insisted in recent years that he could not imagine writing the death of the character.

He said previously: “You can’t really kill off a fictional character. Folk will bring him back.

"It’s quite flattering if they like your character enough to keep writing or reading about them or watching them on TV.

"If I knew I was finished with Rebus I’d say so. But I don’t think I have. I’ve not found out everything there is to know about the guy. Maybe I never will.”