Rebus On His Last Legs: "Even Dogs in the Wild" by Ian Rankin

Even Dogs in the Wild - Ian Rankin

Published November 5th 2015.



It feels like the end of a long song though – men like Cafferty and Joe Stark … and me too, come to that … we’re on our last legs. Our way of thinking seems … I don’t know.’


‘Last century?’


‘Aye, maybe.’ (page 243)



In the last month I've read three novels from three old hands at writing Crime Fiction: Michael Connelly, Robert Crais and now Ian Rankin (I must say the most satisfying was Connelly's).


I'm still digesting it. Is it the best he's ever written? No. It has a somewhat different feel to it. I can’t quite verbalise what… The word that comes to mind is "contemporary".


As usual the plot seems a bit contrived. There are multiple connected sub-plots, but the threads strain credulity. Although Rankin strains mightily to make the whole thing work, by the end of the book the whole thing sort of unravels. On top of that, there are way too many side stories and characters fighting for the spotlight, which makes nigh on impossible to get to know DI Rebus the way he ought to be known. I much prefer the earlier Rebus. He's always at his best playing dark and dirty games, borderline or over the line in terms of breaking the law himself and joining forces with the dark side.


When I come back to a Rebus book just out, I always ask myself: Is Rankin still doing a good job at keeping Rebus true to form? The answer is yes and no.

Because he's no longer in the police force, maybe he’s still not loathed and feared by colleagues and criminals alike as he used to be.

But he still won’t give you the time of day unless you have something he needs. Of course, now that he's retired he's all the time in the world.

But he’s still one of the characters I love the most in terms of Crime Fiction reading (the others are Bosch and Dalglish).

But even if he has one foot in the grave I still rejoice he’s back, and that’s what matters.


The old malcontent still has his hooks in me...