Title: The Complaints
Author: Ian Rankin
Quick Review: 5 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Ian Rankin is one of the best ever. Have been anxiously awaiting its release.
Where I Obtained the Book: I have wanted to make a trip to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama ever since I first heard about it. While in Atlanta for vacation I convinced the wife to make the 3 hour drive to it. After getting a new Ipod ($55) I browsed the bookshelf and there was the new Ian Rankin. It is not even due to be released in the US yet. Obviously someone on an international flight ha left it behind. I also picked up the two latest Jo Nesbo’s which aren’t available here either.
Synopsis: Nobody likes The Complaints - they're the cops who investigate other cops. Complaints and Conduct Department, to give them their full title, but known colloquially as 'The Dark Side', or simply 'The Complaints'. It's where Malcolm Fox works. He's just had a result, and should be feeling good about himself. But he's a man with problems of his own. He has an increasingly frail father in a care home and a sister who persists in an abusive relationship - something which Malcolm cannot seem to do anything about.
But, in the midst of an aggressive Edinburgh winter, the reluctant Fox is given a new task. There's a cop called Jamie Breck, and he's dirty. The problem is, no one can prove it. But as Fox takes on the job, he learns that there's more to Breck than anyone thinks. This knowledge will prove dangerous, especially when a vicious murder intervenes far too close to home for Fox's liking.
Review: How much do I love Ian Rankin’s work? Like most Rankin fans I enjoyed his first non Rebus novel, Doors Open, but found it woefully below the standard that he had set. So as he introduced his latest character Malcolm Fox, another Scottish Police officer trying to do right by the law, I found myself nervously excited that it be good. While it was not Rebus at his best, Fox delivered exactly what I was looking for, especially for a first outing.
Too often the guys who police the Police are often portrayed as the bad guys in fiction (i.e. television). The lowlifes that try to prevent real police officers from doing their job, setting criminals free. But you know what, when you give someone that much power there is always a temptation to abuse, to take advantage. That is where Malcolm Fox comes in. He is there to prevent that abuse; and he is good at his job.
Unfortunately we all have secrets, especially those in power. What follows in the Complaints is a classic battle between good and evil; well at least not as bad as the truly evil. Between lies, death, and an assortment of other crimes the truth keeps jumping around. Through skillful negotiation Rankin manages to lead us through the plot twists to a very satisfying conclusion. I look forward to many stories featuring the inquisitive Mr. Fox.
Author Biography: Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into twenty-two languages and are bestsellers on several continents.