Read Even dogs in the wild Online

Authors: Ian Rankin

Even dogs in the wild

BOOK: Even dogs in the wild
9.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


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

back seat.

‘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

what mattered.’

‘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.’

‘Better be.’

They drove slowly for a few hundred yards. ‘There’s a space

here where I can turn,’ the driver said.

‘This’ll do, then.’

‘Recognise it?’

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

retrieve it.

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.

‘New team?’

‘From Gartcosh, which means they’ll mostly be Glasgow –

and you know how I feel about

‘What’s the occasion?’

‘Nobody’s saying.’

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

expecting to
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


‘Since when?’

‘First thing this morning. I was going to tell you at

lunchtime. James has been put in charge and he wanted me.’

‘Makes sense.’

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

word MINTON.

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

BOOK: Even dogs in the wild
9.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Gallant by William Stuart Long
Go Fetch ! by Shelly Laurenston
Sons of Amber by Bianca D'Arc
Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Assassin's Curse by Martin, Debra L, Small, David W
Don't Say a Word by Rita Herron
Shadow Maker by James R. Hannibal