Monday, August 29, 2016

Review of Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin (2015, Orion)

A senior lawyer has been murdered.  It’s appears to be a robbery gone wrong until a threatening note is found.  Then a shot is taken at Big Ger Cafferty, an Edinburgh crime boss who has received an identical note.  DI Siobhan Clarke is investigating both cases, but Cafferty will only deal with Rebus and the old cop is bought out of retirement as a ‘consultant’.  It doesn’t take Rebus long to pick up the scent of an old crime being revenged.  Cafferty has other worries as well.  A notorious Glasgow criminal and his gang are making waves in the city and Daryl Christie, his one-time lieutenant, is playing games.  DI Malcolm Fox has been assigned local liaison to a surveillance team from Glasgow, but he’s an unwanted team member and his fondness for procedure soon causes friction.  With tensions rising, Rebus, Clarke and Fox work to stop dog eating dog.

Even Dogs in the Wild is the twentieth book in the Rebus series.  One problem with long-running series is maintaining the freshness of the plots and interest in the characters.  Rankin suffers neither problem.  In this outing the plot consists of two separate investigations – an incursion into Edinburgh by a Glasgow-based gang and the deaths of a lawyer, a lottery winner and a potshot at crime boss, Big Ger Cafferty.  What joins the two plot lines are the involvement of principle characters of DI Clarke, DI Fox, recently retired Rebus, and Cafferty, and good old fashioned detective work.  Rankin keeps the parallel stories both ticking along at a clip and nicely balances the investigations with the evolving relationships between the characters.  The result is an entertaining and enjoyable police procedural that taps into current events and the exposure of past ones.  The only bit that felt a little underdeveloped was the end, which seemed to tail off and left untold the aftermath and fallout of the cases.  Nonetheless, another strong addition to the series.

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