Even Dogs in the Wild | Ian Rankin

EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD is Ian Rankin’s 36th book and his 20th in the John Rebus series. His Rebus series of crime novels are an institution unto themselves and the books your parents will (no doubt) love, you may also, but basically it is English crime fiction and once my parents hit fifty the only thing they watch on television these days is English crimes shows so I can see the appeal in these stories for them. EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD is out now from the fine folks at Hachette Australia, it is available in paperback and e-book HERE or you can track it down at most bookstores. Enjoy Kernel Kate’s review, she loved it and she’s not too old 🙂 ……all the best……JK.


Even Dogs in the Wild Book Cover Image
Even Dogs in the Wild | Ian Rankin | Salty Popcorn Book Review | Book Cover Image



John Rebus is back for his 20th outing in the series in Ian Rankin’s EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD teaming up with Malcolm Fox and Siobhan Clarke to get to the bottom of another complicated and scandalous murder.

Retirement doesn’t suit John Rebus but as those already familiar with the series might know, a Scottish Police detective over the age of sixty has little choice. So despite having retired and found his way back to the force in the last few volumes of the series, we open EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD with Rebus firmly retired and thoroughly bored. His former partner and friend Siobhan Clarke is investigating the murder of a prominent lawyer in his home. Later while Siobhan is out for dinner with mutual friend and former internal investigator Malcolm Fox the two hear a call from the house of Rebus’ old foe ‘Big Ger’ Cafferty where a shot has been fired at him through his lounge room window. They know who to call, Rebus is straight on the scene.

While Siobhan works on her murder case Fox is sent to a visiting undercover unit working on organised crime. With a visiting gangster family in town who are looking to track down some of their property and perhaps put the local tough guys in their place the shot fired at Cafferty, a retired gangster himself, looks sure to be related to Fox’s case. Fox and his team are on their tail with an undercover agent already in deep cover. The discovery of a note at Cafferty’s house matching one found at Clarke’s murder scene could put this in doubt. Are their two cases connected? With Rebus pulled halfway out of retirement to work on the case in a consulting capacity their cases are set to take a dark turn and uncover a scandal.


Ian Ranking author image
Even Dogs in the Wild | Ian Rankin | Salty Popcorn Book Review | Author Image Credit: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian


Although Rebus has appeared before readers numerous times and even found his way to television EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD doesn’t require readers to have read the twenty Rebus books or the two Detective Fox books which have come before it. While you certainly may join some dots earlier and recognise more subtle nuances of the characters if you are already familiar with them Rankin’s easy style and scene setting will mean even first time readers to the series aren’t left wondering. Rankin’s habit of giving very few physical descriptions of his characters also means readers are on a more or less level playing field in terms of generating an image of the characters and his succinct descriptions of the relationships between characters when they first appear will catch new readers up without boring those who’ve been reading a while.

One highlight of this latest outing for those who have been reading Rebus for a while is the developing relationships between characters. With Rebus set in ‘real time’ and the characters ageing concurrently readers get to see the characters developing and to some degree maturing along side each other. With Fox slowly losing his reputation as a rat after leaving the internal complaints unit where we first met him we get to see him developing more confidence and some real relationships with other characters, especially that between himself and Clarke. The most evolved relationship coming through in EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD is between Rebus and Cafferty. As former enemies of a sort, with Rebus previously putting Cafferty away, their relationship develops into an uneasy truce with the two even working together to get to the bottom of the threat of Cafferty’s life.

The crime fiction / detective genre is of course massive, so with so many writers, sleuths and series to choose from how does Rankin compare? For starters Rankin is fairly prolific and the Rebus series in particular with twenty books alone gives readers a lot to sink their teeth into. With comparisons to Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series and Barbara Vine’s smart and psychological crime writing Rankin, and EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD in particular, delivers an intelligent twisting crime thriller and while the twists aren’t completely unexpected at some points you don’t see them coming a mile off either.

A notable entry to the Rebus series with the new level of character development brought to us in EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD sets readers up for a future in the series where Rebus, while on longer a cop, hasn’t quite sunk quietly into retirement either.


4 Pops



Having always loved stories one of Kernel Kate’s most frequent childhood memories was her parents telling her in the early hours that it was way too late to still be reading and to go to sleep, but she would always sneak in the end of the chapter. Her love of stories led to a career in movies as well as remaining an avid reader of everything from novels to academic papers and junk mail. She makes a perfect reading machine fit to the Salty Cob.

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or the publisher – credit has been given to photographers but images will be removed on request