Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin
|Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The twentieth Rebus novel sees Rankin at his best. It's bang on the moment, twisty and totally engrossing. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: November 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
There's a high-profile murder case in Edinburgh. Someone has broken into the home of Lord Minton, senior lawyer and former Lord Advocate, beaten him, strangled him and then beaten him some more when he was dead. A note was found at the scene of the crime which suggested that Minton had been threatened. DI Siobhan Clarke has been seconded to the enquiry and she calls on her old friend John Rebus, kicking his heels in retirement, when Big Ger Cafferty narrowly escapes death as a shot is fired into his house. Cafferty had received the same threatening note as Minton. Fearing a turf war, he's reluctant to open up to anyone but Rebus. Clarke's friend, DI Malcolm Fox has been seconded too - to a team from Glasgow who are undercover and need local expertise, only he's not quite so well received. His former posting in Complaints is well known.
The undercover detectives are trailing father and son (plus hangers on, naturally) from a Glasgow crime family. The Starks, Joe and Dennis, are after a man who has something of theirs and they don't care what they have to do to get it. The Edinburgh crime bosses are nervous. Cafferty and Daryl Christie are both wondering who they can trust and whether or not the Starks are looking to take over in Edinburgh. Complicated? It's going to get worse - or better if you're a Rebus fan.
The last time we met Rebus he'd been brought out of retirement, demoted and then retired again. This time he's back in an unofficial capacity: he's called a consultant but, well, the pay's nothing. It's not just in Police Scotland that staff are retiring and taking with them all the expertise, but it's obvious that there's no one who knows the criminal underworld of Edinburgh quite like Rebus. As ever, Rankin is bang on the moment with the subjects he raises and the attitudes. It's a hint as to the complexity of the plot that I've found this a particularly difficult book to review: it's so tightly knotted together that a hint in one area could unravel it all.
You don't read Rankin just for a great plot though. The characters are brilliant and getting more rounded every time you read about them. As ever the book reads perfectly well as a standalone, with no spoilers for previous books, but you will get more out of the plot if you're aware of the background. There's a real feel for Edinburgh too - and it's the real Edinburgh, not the tourist traps, but what I appreciate most about all the Rankin books is the dialogue, the brilliant one liners, the put down and the banter. I can't think of anyone who does it better.
And where does the title of the book come from? Well, it's a song by The Associates which looks at how we treat each other within families, at the harm we do each other and how it can pass down through the generations. It's perfect.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
For another story with its roots in the Edinburgh police we can recommend Last Resort (A Bob Skinner Mystery) by Quintin Jardine.
Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin is in the Top Ten Crime Novels of 2015.
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