”In the sportsbag were…two paperback novels, … a bottle containing ninety-seven paracetamol tables and another bottle (protected by a t-shirt) containing best Islay malt whisky.” With this line the Scotch Chix favorite Scottish detective, Inspector John Rebus, invites his readers into another part of his life. His enjoyment and preference for single malts is only part of what draws the Chix to his novels.
He's the male version of a No Sh** Chick. Which means he can get away with more of the fun stuff: ticking off his superiors, breaking the rules, and telling people off. He's tenacious in his work as a detective and anti-social in his private life. His gruffness does not cause him to be a complete loner though. His partner and mentee Siobhan has learned to not only tolerate him but has also grown quite fond of him as the series progresses.
Rebus's past is in part to blame for his rough side. Growing up he felt like the outsider in his family. After high school he joined the Army and was selected for the elite SAS but failed the psychological testing after a particularly grueling SAS exercise. He then joined the police department. His marriage fell apart as a result of the job, and the relationship he has with his daughter is strained. Is it any wonder the man drinks?
Not a single novel goes by without us finding John Rebus at the Oxford bar where his usual drink order consists of a pint and a whisky. We told you he was tough. The majority of the single malt drinking occurs at his flat in his big comfy chair that he usually falls asleep in. As the series progresses, so does his taste in single malt. In the early books, Rankin has Rebus drinking "a malt" or "a whisky." Mid-way through the series he has progressed to peaty numbers, and not until the final book does he touch on the Scotch Chix favorite – Highland Park.
The Scotch Chix recommend that one start at the beginning in any series. With the exception of the first two novels, Rankin's development of Rebus is best seen in chronological order. However, it isn't a crime to pick up a Rebus book mid-way through the series. All of the novels can stand on their own.
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