Ian Rankin

The Complaints

"..a riveting read."


The Complaints is the department of the police not liked by other policemen. Members of the Complaints and Conduct Department investigate other cops and are seen as almost traitors. Old fashioned coppers, respected by their colleagues for getting results, are brought down by the Complaints for sailing too close to the wind in pursuit of the truth. Malcolm Fox is an Inspector in the Complaints and has just successfully completed an investigation into a popular detective. This makes him some powerful enemies. His private life is not going too well either. He lives a solitary life since his wife left; his sister has an abusive boyfriend and his father is becoming frailer and lives in a care home.

He is then asked to investigate James Breck, a policeman who has allegations of child pornography against him. Breck turns out to be an interesting character and Fox gets on well with him. When a violent murder is discovered involving Fox's family, they begin to work together. Money, business and intrigue all play a part in this tale, against a background of the modern day Edinburgh that Rankin loves.

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This is another excellent tale from Ian Rankin. As always, the backdrop of Edinburgh and Scotland is up to date and intrinsic to the story. Fox is rather a lonely character who battles with his own demons on his own. Perhaps his is the type of character who gravitates to the Complaints and Rankin describes his life with the little touches that make him real. Throughout this book are descriptions of insignificant details which are beautifully observed and bring the scene to life. Above all the interactions between the characters make the story. Personal ambition, trust and distrust and individual views of right and wrong make this story more than just an exciting tale. The rivalry between departments and different constabularies, as well as political corruption and money grabbing developments all have their part to play. I found perhaps the beginning of this book a little hard to get into as Malcolm Fox starts as rather a grey figure, but as the story progresses Fox becomes a more complex character and the various plot lines weave in and out of the story and make it a riveting read.

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