A Cool Head
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A Cool Head

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  349 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Gravy worked in the graveyard - hence the name. He was having a normal day until his friend Benjy turned up in a car Gravy didn't recognise. Benjy had a bullet hole in his chest, but lived just long enough to ask Gravy to hide him and look after his gun.
Paperback, 107 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Orion (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 697)
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Eric
Another post-Rebus book from Ian Rankin. This time, it's part of the "BBC Quick Reads" series. Shorter books that won't take that much time to read.

A Cool Head was a hair over 100 pages, large print; I started and finished it over lunch. Indeed a quick read.

The plot was the aftermath of a robbery gone bad, and the serendipitous crossed paths of the people involved. As typically complex as most of Rankin's crime setups. No spoilers here, so I won't belabor the plot.

I was pleasantly surprised at h...more
Guillermo
Maybe I should read Ian Rankin's short novella, A Cool Head, five times for good luck. One should know that's not entirely impossible either - a book spanning only 107 pages of large print shouldn't take more than an hour, depending on distractions and your speed.

The story starts off with Gravy, a thirty-something OCD guy, working at the graveyard when a BMW drives awkwardly up to him. From out of the car steps out a friend of Gravy's, a man called Benjy. Benjy's got a bag in one hand and a hol...more
Wwmrsweasleydo
This is definitely the worst Ian Rankin book that I've ever read. Which still makes it perfectly readable and quite enjoyable.

The plot never really gets going, but the characters are well drawn in nice little sketches (if a little cliche) the man with Special Needs, the young female detective, the gangster etc. There were no real surprises, either, but some funny lines and some apt descriptions.

My one big gripe is that the chapter titles sound like something out of 'learn to read' books: eg 'J...more
Gareth Lewry
Originally reviewed at mightylewry.wordpress.com

“My dad used to say to me, ‘Try to keep a cool head and a warm heart’. At least, I think it was my dad, I don’t really remember him….”

Rating 3.5 out of 5

This book has everything: A Councillor, Gangsters, Mental health issues, Scotland and Celine Dion.

I have never read any of Ian Rankin’s work before, and I was pleasantly surprised, I don’t normally go for “Thrillers”, but as part of my challenge for the weekend I set myself – Reading three titles o...more
Anne
"Quick Reads are bite-sized books [...:] for people who want a short, fast-paced read. They are designed to be read and enjoyed by avid readers and by people who never had or who have lost the reading habit."
Well, forget it...this is not the way to get people back into reading. Even the ending leaves a gap - there is nothing endearing about anything in this book including the characters and plot. It's too bad as Ian Rankin can be a blistering good read.
P.d.r. Lindsay
'A Cool Head' is one of the Orion Quick reads. This series, by ‘name’ authors, is all about getting reluctant readers to enjoy a book so they are novellas more than novels, with attractive covers and short chapters. The print is a comfortable size to read too, slighter larger than in the usual paperback. I have a suspicion writers were asked to use one of those academic drawn up word lists which give the most commonly used words in the order of common use.

Whatever, the books in the series don't...more
okyrhoe
At just 100 pages, and with rather large print, this is one (very slim) volume in the publisher's series of Quick Reads, "bite-sized books... designed to be read and enjoyed by avid readers and by people who never had or who have lost the reading habit." I understand the marketing logic behind this - offer an affordable sample (cheaper than a pack of ciggies) of Ian Rankin so consumers can develop an appetite for the three-course meal of a proper novel.
The problem with fast food, though, is tha...more
Sister_ray
"Quick Reads are bite-sized books [...:] for people who want a short, fast-paced read. They are designed to be read and enjoyed by avid readers and by people who never had or who have lost the reading habit."

This means that the sentences are short and simple without complex constructions and endless sub-clauses, which becomes quite obvious after a while. Still, this Edinburgh crime story is less simple than it seems: Apart from Gravy, a first-person-narrator with learning disabilities, who works...more
Sam
In my opinion, this would make a really good one off tv drama.

The action starts straight away. Gravy, who is a bit simple, works in the graveyard. In the past he has hidden things for his friend Benjy, who turns up one night, in a car that isn't his, with a gunshot wound to the chest and lives just long enough to ask Gravy to hide a gun... and his body.

Gravy also has to move the car. He can't leave it in the graveyard. Inside the car he finds a bag of money and a girl's name and address.

Unfortun...more
Gavin Broom
Rankin does a decent enough of creating threads of a relatively complex and moving them along. But at just over 100 pages of fairly large print, it all felt very rushed towards the end. Motivations are revealed and dispatched with little more than a line of dialogue. I would happily have read 250 more pages of this story in exchange for a slower pace and better character development.

Having said that, a portion of the book is written first person, from a character called Gravy's point of view an...more
Jane
I have never read an Ian Rankin book and so thought I'd start with a smaller book of his as crime is not my usual genre.

I thought for a quick read this was actually not bad. It jumped around the place with characters due to its limited pages but it did not effect how it was too read. You even were able to get a feeling for the characters which is no small feat in so few pages, although there probably were a few to many in hindsight. I did worry throughout about the well-being of the character n...more
Jo
A short, quick read by Ian Rankin. Love his books and this is well worth taking the time to read. Fast paced, well crafted novella.
Inga
"A cool head and a warm heart" - das ist Gravys Lebensmotto. Gravy heißt so, weil er auf einem Friedhof arbeitet. Dort fährt eines Tages sein Freund Benjy mit einem fremden Auto vor, steigt aus, gibt ihm seine Waffe zum Aufpassen und stirbt an seiner Schussverletzung.
Gravy weiß nicht so recht, was zu tun ist - ein sehr typischer Zustand für Gravy, der zwar herzensgut, aber nicht sehr helle ist.
Ian Rankins Kurzkrimi liest sich flüssig, ist also wirklich ein "quick read", weist interessante Charak...more
Lisa
This was only a quick read, and normally I can read them in a day, but this one I found really hard going. I have never got on with Ian Rankin's novels, despite loving the TV series Rebus. I just can't get into his style of writing.
This book was very disjointed and I found myself forgetting who was related to who and how, and it got very confusing. The end of the book was very disappointing too and just seemed to end.
Very disappointed. I don't think I'll read his books again. I have read some u...more
John
Not bad...a good quick read
Emily
Jun 27, 2013 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
Listening to this as an unabridged audiobook I was kept engaged and entertained while cleaning the house. It's my first real introduction to Rankin and while I wasn't a huge fan of the writing style - it seemed so simple and direct as to be almost patronising - I know such a short story like this (under 2 hours as an audiobook) might not be representative of the rest of Rankin's writing. Nothing fantastic but did the job of entertaining me well enough. I might pick up a novel by Rankin in the fu...more
MargCal
"A Cool Head" by Ian Rankin (read April 2013)
The usual good value Rankin. A novella really, from the World Book Day "Quick Reads" promotion, supposedly designed to tempt infrequent readers. I wonder if that's what happens?
It felt a bit bubsy to be reading large print - what awaits as eyes age?? Perhaps I'll find out when I next go to the optometrist!
Viji (Bookish endeavors)
A good story with a good end. Gravy reminded me of Forrest Gump. Ian Rankin has done his best to bring a logical sequence in a plot which could have made a 500 page book. The quick pace story telling doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Often authors compromise with quantity at the cost of quality but this doesn't happen here. A quick and enjoyable read, that's what this book is.
Vicki
A Cool Head is a Quick Reads and, at just over 100 pages long, is a short sharp crime story. Ian Rankin has managed to develop the key characters enough that you have a feel for them. There is no room for major twists in the story line and I found it surprisingly refreshing to read a plot that was both simple and interesting.
Kath Middleton
This Quick Read is a tale of corruption, bribery and murder. The rather charming figure of Gravy, who works in a graveyard and lives in a hostel, becomes unwittingly involved. I enjoyed the story, which actually finished at 87% of the book - a quicker read than I expected - but I found the ending unsatisfactory.
Bronwyn Mcloughlin
A neat, tight read, written for a purpose and while it doesn't meet Rankin's usual high standards of nuance and description, it's still worth a look. Rankin can pull together a tight plot out of bare bones effortlessly, and his characterisations hit the mark effectively. A good, tidy tale for a quick read, well told
Ana
Mas libros de obligada lectura de la escuela. Este no estaba mal del todo, se lee rápido, bien de vocabulario, un poco lío porque recuerdo que había varios personajes y ya no sabia quien era quien. La profe eligió este libro porque conocía al escritor (creo que nos dijo que le dio clases de español hace algún tiempo)
Robert Colquhoun
I didn't realize this was a short story and I was disappointed to discover it was over. In fact, it concluded so abruptly and with so many loose ends that I thought I had a bad ebook.
In reality, it probably only deserves one star. I'm giving it two simply because the Rankin name's behind it.
Fiona Robinson
Meh. Not bad. It is what is says on the tin: a Quick Read, seems to be a series of shorter books intended to encourage people to pick up a book. As such it doesn't have the depth of most Rankin novels, but it is an easy read. I did enjoy the clin d'oeil a Celine Dion, that was quite clever.
Steve Thompson
Not your typical Ian Rankin – kind of plot and characters without the usually rich detail of location. This book is part of the Quick Reads project. And it is that, a quick read. Gravy, a mentally challenged adult, is an amusing and often insightful character.
Aileen Bernadette Urquhart
Lol, short story, simple sentences, single plot. I thought, this isn't like Rankin. Then the penny dropped: it's in the 'Quick Reads' series, for new or hesitant readers. Had to give it 5 stars as it fulfilled its purpose as far as I know. I enjoyed it too.
Francesco Marchetti
Disappointing.....this is the first book by Rankin that I have read and maybe it was a mistake to start with a "short' story. many people told how good his books are and now I am a little bit worried about taking up one of his "full" books.
Jane Fenn
If I hadn't read other 'Quick Reads', I've have thought the length of the book was the reason that the plot and characters hardly developed, but Val McDermid did so much more in the same space. Enjoyed it, but not earth shattering!
Adele Mitchell
A very quick read, done in just over an hour. Great characters with interplay throughout, two characters in particular I was rooting for. Only downside, ended extremely abruptly
Sundarraj Kaushik
A taut story involving a naive graveyard worker who gets entangled in a bribe payment going wrong, leading to murder.
A typical Ian Rankin book for the fans.
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33031
AKA Jack Harvey.

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987; the Rebus books are now translated into 22 languages and are bestsellers on several continents.

Ian Rankin has been elected a...more
More about Ian Rankin...
Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus, #1) Exit Music (Inspector Rebus, #17) Black and Blue (Inspector Rebus, #8) Hide and Seek (Inspector Rebus, #2) Let it Bleed (Inspector Rebus, #7)

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