Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin

‘Even Dogs in the Wild’ is the 20th Rebus novel by Ian Rankin and is one of the best novels in the series. This novel could be read as a standalone, but some of the character interactions between characters are fairly complex so the history of the characters helps explain these interactions.

Siobhan Clark is investigating the death of a prominent retired lawyer, Initially the death is thought to be a house breaking gone wrong until a threatening note is found.

Then there are reports of the old semi-retired gangster Big Ger Cafferty being shot at in his home. He refuses to speak to the police until Siobhan calls in Rebus (now retired) to speak to his old nemesis/ friend. Rebus finds out that Cafferty received an identical threatening note.

But the police struggle to find a connection between the two cases.

Meanwhile the main gangster from Glasgow – Joe Stark is visiting Edinburgh with his son Dennis. They claim to be looking for a driver who stole a load of goods. But, everyone doubts that this is the reason for their visit.

Things look set for a three way clash between Cafferty, Stark and Edinburgh’s new lead gangster Darryl Christie.

The Starks are under police surveillance. Malcolm Fox gets himself seconded to the surveillance team but has serious doubts about some of the other team members.

It is Cafferty who finally discovers the link between the threat recipients. In hiding and unable to investigate, he involves Rebus. Finally Rebus is back where he belongs – skating the edge of the law while doggedly investigating a crime. And this one requires all of Rebus’s skill and a lot of delving into history.

Rebus is a much better man for not having a boss.


This was one of the best Rebus novels ever. I even enjoyed Malcolm Fox – naïve, a stickler for the rules, but starting to show some real personality.

We also saw another side to Cafferty. Scared and alone for the first time and almost playing by the rules.

The gangsters and the surveillance team were a very colourful group of characters.

Obviously the police couldn’t get by without Rebus, so I expect to see him pulled out of retirement again for a future novel. Next in series is ‘Rather be the Devil‘.


Book Published 2015


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