Authors: Ian Rankin
EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD
All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance
to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is
available from the British Library.
ISBN (Hardback) 978 1 4091 5936 0
ISBN (Export Trade Paperback) 978 1 4091 5937 7
ISBN (Ebook) 978 1 4091 5939 1
The Orion Publishing Group’s policy is to use papers that are
natural, renewable and recyclable products and made from wood
grown in sustainable forests. The logging and manufacturing
processes are expected to conform to the environmental
regulations of the country of origin.
Eventually the passenger ejected the tape and tossed it on to the
‘That was the Associates,’ the driver complained.
‘Well they can go associate somewhere else. Singer sounds
like his balls have been trapped in a vice.’
The driver thought about this for a moment, then smiled.
‘Remember we did that to . . . what was his name again?’
The passenger shrugged. ‘He owed the boss money – that’s
‘Wasn’t a lot of money, was it?’
‘How much further?’ The passenger peered through the
‘Half a mile. These woods have seen some action, eh?’
The passenger made no comment. It was dark out there and
they’d not encountered another car for the last five or so miles.
Fife countryside, inland from the coast, the fields shorn and
awaiting winter. A pig farm not too far away, one they’d used
‘What’s the plan?’ the driver asked.
‘Just the one shovel, so we toss to see who breaks sweat.
Strip off his clothes, burn them later.’
‘He’s only wearing pants and a vest.’
‘No tattoos or rings that I saw. Nothing we need to cut off.’
‘This is us here.’ The driver stopped the car, got out and
opened a gate. A churned track led into the forest. ‘Hope we
don’t get stuck,’ he said, getting back in. Then, seeing the look
on the other man’s face: ‘Joke.’
They drove slowly for a few hundred yards. ‘There’s a space
here where I can turn,’ the driver said.
‘This’ll do, then.’
The passenger shook his head. ‘It’s been a while.’
‘I think there’s one buried somewhere in front of us, and
another over to the left.’
‘Maybe try the other side of the track, in that case. Torch in
the glove box?’
‘Fresh batteries, like you said.’
The passenger checked. ‘Right then.’
The two men got out and stood for the best part of a minute,
their eyes adjusting to the gloom, ears alert for unusual sounds.
‘I’ll pick the spot,’ the passenger said, taking the torch with
him as he headed off. The driver got a cigarette lit and opened
the back door of the Mercedes. It was an old model, and the
hinges creaked. He lifted the Associates cassette from the seat
and slipped it into his jacket pocket, where it hit some coins.
He’d be needing one of those for the heads-or-tails. Slamming
the door shut, he moved to the boot and opened it. The body
was wrapped in a plain blue bed sheet. Or it had been. The trip
had loosened the makeshift shroud. Bare feet, pale skinny legs,
ribcage visible. The driver rested the shovel against one of the
tail-lights, but it slid to the ground. Cursing, he bent over to
Which was when the corpse burst into life, emerging from
sheet and boot both, almost vaulting the driver as its feet hit the
ground. The driver gasped, the cigarette flying from his mouth.
He had one hand on the shovel’s handle while he tried to haul
himself upright with the other. The sheet was hanging over the
lip of the boot, its occupant disappearing into the trees.
‘Paul!’ the driver yelled. ‘Paul!’
Torchlight preceded the man called Paul.
‘Hell’s going on, Dave?’ he shouted. The driver could only
stretch out a shaking hand to point.
‘He’s done a runner!’
Paul scanned the empty boot. A hissing sound from between
his gritted teeth.
‘After him then,’ he said in a growl. ‘Or it’ll be someone
else’s turn to dig a hole for us.’
‘He came back from the dead,’ Dave said, voice trembling.
‘Then we kill him again,’ Paul stated, producing a knife
from his inside pocket. ‘Even slower than before . . .’
Malcolm Fox woke from another of his bad dreams.
He reckoned he knew why he’d started having them –
uncertainty about his job. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted it
any more, and feared he was surplus to requirements anyway.
Yesterday, he’d been told he had to travel to Dundee to fill a
vacant post for a couple of shifts. When he asked why, he was
told the officer he’d be replacing had been ordered to cover for
someone else in Glasgow.
‘Isn’t it easier just to send me to Glasgow then?’ Fox had
‘You could always ask, I suppose.’
So he’d picked up the phone and done exactly that, only to
find that the officer in Glasgow was coming to Edinburgh to fill
a temporary gap – at which point he’d given up the fight and
driven to Dundee. And today? Who knew. His boss at St
Leonard’s didn’t seem to know what to do with him. He was
just one detective inspector too many.
‘It’s the time-servers,’ DCI Doug Maxtone had apologised.
‘They’re bunging up the system. Need a few of them to take the
gold watch . . .’
‘Understood,’ Fox had said. He wasn’t in the first idealistic
flush of youth himself – another three years and he could retire
with a solid pension and plenty of life left in him.
Standing under the shower, he considered his options. The
bungalow in Oxgangs that he called home would fetch a fair
price, enough to allow him to relocate. But then there was his
dad to consider – Fox couldn’t move too far away, not while
Mitch still had breath in his body. And then there was Siobhan.
They weren’t lovers, but they’d been spending more time
together. If either of them was bored, they knew they could
always call. Maybe there’d be a film or a restaurant, or just
snacks and a DVD. She’d bought him half a dozen titles for
Christmas and they’d watched three before the old year was
done. As he got dressed, he thought of her. She loved the job
more than he did. Whenever they met up, she was always ready
to share news and gossip. Then she would ask him, and he
would shrug, maybe offer a few morsels. She gulped them
down like delicacies, while all he saw was plain white bread.
She worked at Gayfield Square, with James Page for a boss.
The structure there seemed better than St Leonard’s. Fox had
wondered about a transfer, but knew it would never happen – he
would be creating the self-same problem. One DI too many.
Forty minutes after finishing breakfast, he was parking at St
Leonard’s. He sat in his car for an extra few moments,
gathering himself, hands running around the steering wheel. It
was at times like this he wished he smoked – something to
occupy him, to take him out of himself. Instead of which, he
placed a piece of chewing gum on his tongue and closed his
mouth. A uniform had emerged from the station’s back door
into the car park and was opening a packet of cigarettes. Their
eyes met as Fox walked towards him, and the other man gave
the curtest of nods. The uniform knew that Fox used to work for
Professional Standards – everyone in the station knew. Some
didn’t seem to mind; others made their distaste obvious. They
scowled, answered grudgingly, let doors swing shut into his
face rather than holding them open.
‘You’re a good cop,’ Siobhan had told him on more than one
occasion. ‘I wish you could see that . . .’
When he reached the CID suite, Fox gleaned that something
was happening. Chairs and equipment were being moved. His
eyes met those of a thunderous Doug Maxtone.
‘We’ve to make room for a new team,’ Maxtone explained.
‘From Gartcosh, which means they’ll mostly be Glasgow –
and you know how I feel about
‘What’s the occasion?’
Fox chewed on his gum. Gartcosh, an old steelworks, was
now home to the Scottish Crime Campus. It had been up and
running since the previous summer, and Fox had never had
occasion to cross its threshold. The place was a mix of police,
prosecutors, forensics and Customs, and its remit took in
organised crime and counterterrorism. ‘How many are we
expecting to welcome?’
Maxtone glared at him. ‘Frankly, Malcolm, I’m not
a single one of them. But we need desks
and chairs for half a dozen.’
‘And computers and phones?’
‘They’re bringing their own. They do, however, request . . .’
Maxtone produced a sheet of paper from his pocket and made
show of consulting it, ‘“ancillary support, subject to vetting”.’
‘And this came from on high?’
‘The Chief Constable himself.’ Maxtone crumpled the paper
and tossed it in the general direction of a bin. ‘They’re arriving
in about an hour.’
‘Should I do a bit of dusting?’
‘Might as well – it’s not as if there’s going to be anywhere
for you to sit.’
‘I’m losing my chair?’
‘And your desk.’ Maxtone inhaled and exhaled noisily. ‘So
if there’s anything in the drawers you’d rather not share . . .’ He
managed a grim smile. ‘Bet you’re wishing you’d stayed in bed,
‘Worse than that, sir – I’m beginning to wish I’d stayed in
Siobhan Clarke had parked on a yellow line on St Bernard’s
Crescent. It was about as grand a street as could be found in
Edinburgh’s New Town, all pillared facades and floor-to-
ceiling windows. Two bow-shaped Georgian terraces facing
one another across a small private garden containing trees and
benches. Raeburn Place, with its emporia and eateries, was a
two-minute walk away, as was the Water of Leith. She’d
brought Malcolm to the Saturday food market a couple of
times, and joked that he should trade in his bungalow for one of
Stockbridge’s colony flats.
Her phone buzzed: speak of the devil. She answered the call.
‘You off up north again?’
‘Not at the moment,’ he said. ‘Big shake-up happening here,
‘I’ve got news too – I’ve been seconded to the Minton
‘First thing this morning. I was going to tell you at
lunchtime. James has been put in charge and he wanted me.’
She locked her car and walked towards a gloss-black front
door boasting a gleaming brass knocker and letter box. A
uniformed officer stood guard; she gave a half-bow of
recognition, which Clarke rewarded with a smile.
‘Any room for a little one?’ Fox was asking, trying to make
it sound like a joke, though she could tell he was serious.
‘I’ve got to go, Malcolm. Talk to you later.’ Clarke ended
the call and waited for the officer to unlock the door. There
were no media – they’d been and gone. A couple of small
posies had been left at the front step, probably by neighbours.
There was an old-style bell pull by the pillar to the right of the
door, and above it a nameplate bearing the single capitalised
As the door swung open, Clarke thanked the officer and
went inside. There was some mail on the parquet floor. She
scooped it up and saw that more was sitting on an occasional
table. The letters on the table had been opened and checked –
presumably by the major incident team. There were the usual
flyers too, including one for a curry house she knew on the
south side of the city. She didn’t see Lord Minton as the
takeaway type, but you never could tell. The scene of crime unit
had been through the hall, dusting for prints. Lord Minton –
David Menzies Minton, to give him his full name – had been
killed two evenings back. No one in the vicinity had heard the
break-in or the attack. Whoever had done it had scaled a couple