Even Dogs in the Wild – Ian Rankin

March 22, 2017

Ian Rankin once again brings us a tale of Inspector Rebus in the 20th novel of the series, Even Dogs in the Wild, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2015.


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The novel begins with a prologue featuring two would-be murderers who intend to bury a dead body.  They open the trunk of the car and the body springs out and runs into the woods.  They fear for their lives if they don’t catch and kill this runaway “corpse”, and if their boss finds out about their screw-up, so they set out after the fleeing “dead body”.


Rankin then switches us to the activities of the detectives who are assigned to investigate the murder of David Minton, aka Lord Minton, who was found dead on the floor of his office by the lady who cleans his mansion for him twice a week.  Lord Advocate Minton had been beaten around the head and then throttled by his attacker and beaten again post-mortem.  Nothing is stolen from the home or Minton’s person, so investigators conclude it’s not a robbery gone bad, but possibly a revenge killing.  Assigned to the investigation are detective inspector Siobhan (pronounced she-vohn) Clarke and detective constable Malcolm Fox.  They go to the scene and find few clues except a note in the victim’s wallet written in capital letters that simply states “I’m going to kill you for what you did”.

Clarke and Fox consult the crime scene investigators and still find no workable leads.  Then the window of a local mobster, “Big Ger” Cafferty, is shot out but when the detectives hear about it and try to talk with him he refuses to speak to them.  Clarke has another way to get to the “Big Ger” through her retired ex-partner John Rebus who, through the years, has had many dealings with Cafferty and they respect each other as longtime rivals.  Rebus is able to find valuable information from “Big Ger” about some of the new wannabe crime bosses that may lead to a connection between Lord Minton and the old mobster Cafferty.  However Rebus is sure Cafferty had nothing to do with the actual murder.

Upon investigating the esteemed Lord Minton, Clarke and Fox find the man to be squeaky clean with few suspicious acquaintances except those that had led to the conviction of hardened criminals.  Then Cafferty informs Rebus of a note that had been shoved under his door and is nearly identical to the one found in Minton’s wallet.  This gives Rebus, Clarke, and Fox reason to look deeper into these two characters and they soon discover a rather unexpected side to Minton’s honored career and life.  As Cafferty aids Rebus in finding out more about Minton and his friends they discover they were involved in an “unspeakable” crime.

Rankin launches into the workings of the police procedure while investigating a crime.  This is something he does so very well and what makes him such a highly credited writer.  Truly one of my favorite authors of crime fiction.  I would have to say read this book!

Literally, Paul

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