9 November 2009

Review: THE COMPLAINTS, Ian Rankin

Orion Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7528-8952-8, 381 pages.

Malcolm Fox, Foxy, works in the Dark Side of the Complaints and Conduct section of Edinburgh's Lothian and Borders Police HQ. Their job is to keep the cops honest - investigate grievances about cops, hints of corruption, smells of backhanders. Foxy and his colleagues are not popular, as you can imagine, and they've just had a result. They've had Glen Heaton under surveillance for months. It's Friday and now Heaton is under suspension, and the paperwork has gone to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution.

So there's always someone out for revenge, and if you work for the Dark Side you have to be extra careful to keep your nose clean.

On Monday Fox is asked by another section, this time Child Protection, to begin an investigation into Jamie Breck, a policeman working in the same station as Heaton. His boss is ok with him doing some low key investigation.

On the same day he hears that his sister Jude has been beaten up yet again by her boyfriend. This time she has a broken arm. Jude's boyfriend Vince appears to have disappeared.

The further Inspector Fox gets drawn into Vince's disappearance and into investigating Jamie Breck, the more he finds that things aren't what they seem, and he gets drawn further into a complex web that challenges not only his personal safety but also his career.

THE COMPLAINTS has all the hallmarks of the beginning of a series. There was a lot of speculation about what Rankin would find to do when he retired John Rebus. And so he produced Mark Mackenzie in DOORS OPEN. That didn't feel like the beginning of a series like THE COMPLAINTS does. In this novel Rankin spends a lot of time giving the reader background to Fox and his colleagues, establishing the parameters by which the Dark Side operates.

My rating: 4.7

Other reviews for you to consider:
  • BooksPlease: I was absolutely engrossed in this book from the beginning to the end; one of the best books I’ve read this year.
  • Crime Always Pays: on the other hand was a little disappointed.
  • Pat Austin on Euro Crime: This is good, intelligent crime writing.


Bernadette said...

I could never quite get into the Rebus series but I do plan on giving this one a go

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this review; your reviews are always so informative! I, too, was wondering whether Rankin would follow up the Rebus series with another, and this seems to be a promising beginning!

Deb said...

I'm so glad Rankin might be embarking on another series. I was bummed when it looked like Rebus was coming to an end.

On a slightly related note, I was watching a rerun of "Law & Order" a couple of weeks ago and the husband of the victim was named "Ian Rankin." Little inside joke, I suppose.

Dorte H said...

Good that we have something to look forward to after Rebus (I have three on my TBR and several I haven´t even bought yet, but anyway).

Funny that he seems to have chosen a symbolic name again. Is Foxy foxy, Kerrie?

Gavin said...

I am filled with envy! We have to wait for it to come out in the US.

BooksPlease said...

I'm still reading the Rebus books, but I hope Rankin does write more Foxy ones!


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