Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin

First Sentence:  Eventually the passenger ejected the tape and tossed it on to the back seat.

DI Siobhan (Shiv-awn) Clark and Malcolm Fox, formerly with the Complaints bureau, have been assigned to investigate the death of, David Minton, a man with friends in high places.  It was clearly not an interrupted robbery since nothing is missing, but something was left behind; a threatening note.  Retirement doesn’t suit John Rebus and is happy to help Clark and Fox.  What he didn’t expect is a call from “Big Ger” Cafferty, a man Rebus would dearly love to put in prison.  Someone shot at Cafferty and left him a note with the same message that Minton received.
Although prologues can be an extremely annoying element, in this case, it does provide a rather intriguing opening. 
Rebus, as with most series, is best read in order as it allows one to show how the relationships have developed over time, such as the friendship between Clarke and Fox, and the new twist in the highly adverbial relationship between Rebus and Cafferty. That said, it is a credit to Rankin that he provides sufficient backstory on his characters that the books can be read as standalones without new readers feeling lost.
It is the characters who draw us in.  There is a sense of a moral code driving Rebus, Malcolm, and Clarke that makes them so strong and compelling.  They provide a good balance, one to the another, as well.  Where Rebus might be willing to bend the rules, Malcolm will not.  The addition of something as mundane as—“…a cardboard cup of scalding tea and a cling-film-tuna sandwich…” adds an element of normalcy and veracity.
Rankin’s dialogue is wonderful, particularly with his inclusion of wry humor—“Now, is there any chance you can get Jackie Stewart here to put the foot down?” His voice, in general, makes his books a real pleasure to read—“No detective wanted a lawyer to think they were more stupid than most lawyers already considered them to be.”  His descriptions are both evocative and pause-worthy—“Edinburgh had always seemed to Rebus a city that liked to keep its counsel and its secrets.”
“Even Dogs in the Wild” is such a good book filled with excellent characters and very good twists.  Rankin is an author who never disappoints.
EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD (Pol Proc-Rebus/Clarke/Fox-Scotland-Contemp) – VG+
      Rankin, Ian – 20th in series
      Little, Brown and Company, Jan 2016     


  1. I've been collecting Ian Rankin mysteries over the past few months during the height of the Library Book Sale frenzy here in Western New York. I plan to read the Rankin books in order as soon as the snow begins to fall. Glad to see you think Rankin never disappoints.

    1. I've been following Rankin's Rebus series from the start. I don't, however, recommend reading them, or any author's series, one right after the other. In fact, I once was told by an author to not do that.