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Even Dogs in the Wild


Even Dogs in the Wild

There are not many crime fiction/thriller writers better than Scotland's own Ian Rankin, whose faithful readers eagerly await each and every one of his tautly written novels. With the release of EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD, fans are in for a treat, as it features two of his fictional creations: Malcolm Fox of the Complaints bureau and the recently retired Detective Inspector John Rebus.

Rebus has become quite the iconic character, and Rankin's series featuring the gritty detective has been turned into two successful BBC series. This story, as with all of his novels, is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow. These are modern cities that are still steeped in ancient tradition, and each have their own secrets.

"EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD is Ian Rankin at the top of his game, as each page brings the humming streets of Scotland to life for the reader to jump right into and savor."

EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD opens with the murder of a lawyer, which would not normally raise too many eyebrows --- or bring much sympathy --- except for the fact that the victim, Lord David Minton, was a senior government prosecutor. D.I. Siobhan Clarke calls upon the recently retired Rebus to assist. The reason for the call is not because of the light he might be able to shed on the Minton murder, but primarily because of the related attempted murder of an Edinburgh crime boss who has a long history with Rebus.

“Big Ger” Cafferty is the crime boss in question, and he has long been a nemesis of Rebus.  How strange it is now for Rebus to be protecting Cafferty as part of what could be a string of murders and attempted murders. The scenes between the two adversaries now forced to work together are a treat to read.

The other reason why Clarke reached out to Rebus is because her colleague, Malcolm Fox, is preoccupied, having joined a covert team of Glaswegian detectives tracking a notorious crime family. On a personal note, he is also dealing with a family issue as his father is dying.

The motif of dogs are seen throughout the novel, most directly in the form of an injured stray taken in by Rebus who he names Brillo. This plays directly into the two cases being investigated by our trio of heroes --- Rebus, Clarke and Fox --- and conjoined paths point to a place called Acorn House, which is home to abused and troubled youths who, like injured stray dogs, need special care. This also means that they sometimes cannot be trusted and will strike out at those they see as a threat. Leave it said that the dog metaphor is put to good use, and the mystery surrounding a certain former resident of Acorn House is a doozy.

The final pages refer to a song by The Associates, “Even Dogs in the Wild,” and it speaks to fathers and sons, as well as the abuse sometimes involved in those complicated relationships. EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD is Ian Rankin at the top of his game, as each page brings the humming streets of Scotland to life for the reader to jump right into and savor.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on January 29, 2016

Even Dogs in the Wild
by Ian Rankin

  • Publication Date: December 13, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316342548
  • ISBN-13: 9780316342544