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Even Dogs in the WildReview - Even Dogs in the Wild
by Ian Rankin
Hachette Audio, 2016
Review by Christian Perring
Aug 9th 2016 (Volume 20, Issue 32)

The most appealing aspect of Rankin's latest Inspector Rebus novel is its use of the song "Even Dogs in the Wild" by the Scottish group the Associates (whose albums from the early 1980s have recently been rereleased). Even though it's not really a song that made much impression when it was released, it adds a strong personal dimension to the story, even though it is only mentioned a few times. The refrain is "Even dogs in the wild could do better than this" so it is about the neglect of parents of their children. The story is long, with many characters. The unabridged audiobook, competently performed as ever by James Macpherson with his native Scottish accent, lasts 11 hours. The hardcover is 350 pages. I first listened to the audiobook about 2 months ago, and it enjoyable. When I sat down to write a review today, I found I had no recall of the plot, and even the summary on Amazon didn't jog my memory. After listening to some of it again, some of the plot started coming back to me: there was a dramatic explosion, and apart from Rebus, there are one or two memorable characters. At this late stage in his career, Rebus has retired but gets pulled into solving a difficult case anyway. But the story lacks a compelling plot or strong characterization. Even Rebus is a bit dull:  he lacks the personal conflicts that more memorable sleuths suffer through. It's not that Rankin's work is declining: this is as good as most of the other books in the Rebus series, and he is pleasingly consistent. But his comforting style has been eclipsed by other more probing or extreme crime authors.

 

© 2016 Christian Perring

 

Christian Perring has listened to many detective novels and has thought about becoming an audiobook performer.

 


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