For the first time, Ian Rankin has put all his short stories featuring one of fiction's most iconic characters in one volume. There are 29 of them, tracing his career from the beginning (1987) to present. If you're a fan you'll be able to spot where they fit chronologically between the novels.
In an essay at the end, we learn John Rebus got his name from the author's love of puzzles & "Shaft", the american series....who knew? But it's a perfect fit for the contradiction that is DI Rebus. He's a proper copper, unable to walk away from a crime until he's put all the pieces together. On the flip side, he's not above doing something just the teensiest bit illegal to get a result. He's definitely a guy who believes the ends justify the means.
He seems to have appeared in the author's mind fully formed from the beginning. Even in the earliest story he's the cranky fossil we've come to love. And it's interesting to note they were not written in time with the books. For example, "Dead & Buried" is the oldest in terms of Rebus' life (set in the mid-1980's) but was written in 2013.
There's a wide variety of stories with characters you'll recognize. They range from snitches to superintendents, all of whom Rebus offends at one time to another.
The stories are bracketed by Rankin's descriptions of his early life, why he began writing & how he ended up stuck with this character, almost against his will. And we come to understand that what he really wanted to write about was Edinburgh, itself. He clearly loves his adopted city & Rebus is the vehicle he uses to explore it from tenement to manor house.
These personal notes are just as entertaining as the stories, making this a must-have for any fan's collection.