John Rebus, recently retired from Police Scotland, was having a hard time adjusting. When he was approached by his friend and former coworker Siobhan Clark, he didn’t hesitate to get back to work. It seems his old friend and nemesis--it’s complicated-- had a bullet come through his window, missing him by inches. The man, prominent mobster Big Ger Cafferty, will only talk with Rebus.
Clark is also in the middle of an inquiry into the murder of a prominent jurist, Lord David Minton, with few clues and no apparent motive. Detective Inspector Malcom Fox is assigned to help a highly specialized team from Glasgow in the surveillance of another group of criminals, Joe Stark and his son Dennis, in Edinburgh from Glasgow looking for their missing colleague Hamish Wright and whatever it was he took before he disappeared, and maybe trying to move in on Cafferty and a young organized criminal, Daryl Christie.
Rebus discovers a series of horrific, decades old crimes that would destroy the reputations of well respected, prominent members of the community, including police officials, if made public. Rebus himself questions whether it even mattered if they were solved, if justice may be better served letting the killer continue on his quest.
“Yet somehow it did—it did matter. Always had, always would. Not because of any of the victims or perpetrators, but for Rebus himself. Because if none of it mattered, then neither did he.”
Even Dogs in the Wild is the twentiethbook featuring John Rebus, a series spanning nearly thirty years. It is difficult for even the best authors to maintain a character in a series that long, but Rankin does so successfully here. As the above quote implies, the characters—Rebus, Cafferty, Stark—are adjusting to their diminished relevance, making way for the next generation of cops and gangsters.
“One last good fight in me…”
|Author Ian Rankin|
Rankin does an excellent job blurring the line between the good guys and the bad, as they help each other when there are shared interests, staying on guard when there aren’t, and briefly but valuably examining how crime victims can be changed forever, and sometimes turned into criminals. The human aspects of police officers and criminals and the effects of crime are subtly but effectively demonstrated.
Rankin, Ian. Even Dogs in the Wild, Little, Brown & Company, January 19, 2016.
An advance copy of Even Dogs in the Wild was provided to The Thirty Year Itch by the publisher. No compensation was provided for this review.