Title: The Impossible Dead
Author: Ian Rankin
Review: Ian Rankin is the master of the of the Scottish police procedural mysteries having written 17 novels featuring the flawed detective John Rebus. But the Rebus novels took place in real time and the actual Scottish police force has a mandatory retirement age, an age that the character was reaching. A lesser author would have kept milking a proven character and created a work around that would have killed the reality of the world they had so carefully created.
Lucky for us Rankin is one of the best. Rebus quietly retired and we were given Malcolm Fox, an Inspector in the Complaints department. In American terms he works for Internal Affairs, the police’s police. You would be hard pressed to find an example of the complaints department ever being portrayed in a good light. They are always shown as the bad guys handcuffing the real police from doing their jobs. I used to work in quality control in a large manufacturing facility, much the same as that.
To his credit Rankin has given us another great character and even more solid mysteries to be solved. This is a large untapped area to be explored and my only wish was that he had made Fox 20 years old so he wouldn’t age out so fast. This is the second book featuring Malcolm Fox (book one is The Complaints), so if you are looking to start with a great series and a writer who is a master of the filed, this is the series to get.
I will say I enjoyed this book more than book one, but that is because I spent too much time looking for Rebus in Fox reading it. They are really different characters. (Though I wouldn’t mind seeing some Siobhan in a crossover)
Thanks to T Steven for this review.
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Quick Review: 4 Stars out of 5.
Why I Read it: Ian Rankin is one of my favorite authors
Where I Obtained the Book: My local library
Synopsis: The Complaints: that's the name given to the Internal Affairs department who seek out dirty and compromised cops, the ones who've made deals with the devil. And sometimes The Complaints must travel.
A major inquiry into a neighboring police force sees Malcolm Fox and his colleagues cast adrift, unsure of territory, protocol, or who they can trust. An entire station-house looks to have been compromised, but as Fox digs deeper he finds the trail leads him back in time to the suicide of a prominent politician and activist. There are secrets buried in the past, and reputations on the line.
In his newest pulse-pounding thriller, Ian Rankin holds up a mirror to an age of fear and paranoia, and shows us something of our own lives reflected there.
Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award, as well as receiving two Dagger Awards for the year's best short story and the Gold Dagger for Fiction. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews and Edinburgh.
A contributor to BBC2's 'Newsnight Review', he also presented his own TV series, 'Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts', on Channel 4 in 2002. He recently received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons.