Malcolm Fox and his team are back. They've been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague, Detective Paul Carter. Carter has been found guilty of misconduct with his own uncle, also in the force, having proved to be his nemesis. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy - and a brutal murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist.
The spiralling investigation takes Fox back to 1985, a year of turmoil in British political life. Terrorists intent on a split between Scotland and the rest of the UK were becoming more ruthless, sending letter-bombs and poisonous spores to government offices, plotting kidnaps and murder, and trying to stay one step ahead of the spies sent to find them. Fox has a duty to get at the truth, while the body count rises, the clock starts ticking, and he fights for his professional and personal life.
©2011 John Rebus Ltd (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Ltd
DI Malcolm Fox is a member of 'the Complaints' - what the Americans call 'the Rat Squad' - investigating police misbehaviour in Edinburgh and its environs.
In this story, he and his team are called in to interview the colleagues of a bent cop in Kirkcaldy, but very soon there are murders (both new and old) to be investigated.
Although this is only the second in the series, I think Ian Rankin has come up with a worthy successor to Rebus. Fox is a recovering alcoholic (what fictional policeman isn't?) with both domestic (but not the usual) and work related problems which cleverly interact with his investigations. He is a realistic and sympathetic character and it is also interesting that the 'good' cop - the one the reader identifies with - is regarded by many of his colleagues as 'bad'.
Both books in the series are expertly narrated by Peter Forbes.beta inappVoteInfo
Great story, great reader. Rankin's prose is plain but somehow lyrical. The second book to feature Malcolm Fox of 'The Complaints'. I enjoyed it even more than the first one, if only because the characters are now familiar. (It was hard letting go of Rebus.) Builds on the first story without rehashing the same ground. Can be read as a stand-alone. The action sequences are particularly exciting in a down-to-earth fashion. Foxie is no Jason Bourne, he is a flawed but decent man, an excellent policeman and willing to bend the rules to get to the truth and stop the bad guys. And still find time to visit his ailing father in hospital.
I really liked The Impossible Dead, but what intrigues me most is whether Fox will now make the move to CID or remain in 'the complaints' for his next outing. Rebus became an ensemble piece, and I guess that they are a hard or almost impossible act to follow. We don't quite have that yet with Fox and his crew, but we have to remember that it took Mr Rankin a while to develop the now familiar Siobhan Clarke, Gill Templar, Morris Cafferty and so on. Deep down we all wanted Rebus to never retire, but we have to give credit for the bravery of the author to give him up. I wasn't particularly fond of the art heist book, but I am looking forward to the next instalment of Malcolm Fox.
And one more thought, am I the only one who would like to read more of Miles Flint (bad name) from the Watchman novel?
I had so much enjoyed The Complaints and was therefore relishing listening to this title, but I was hugely disappointed. It was well-written and effectively read, but hey, can a listener/reader honestly be expected to believe in such a preposterous plot? The "stunts" the lead character got involved in were beyond incredulous, I am tempted to say laughable, or am I mistaken in believing that modern police officers are much more accountable to their superiors than this man appears to be? I think I'm probably the only dissenting voice in the avalanche of praise which seems to be being heaped on this book and I can only hope that the next one in the series will reflect greater reality.
I loved The Complaints and this is a worthy successor. An excellent example of Rankin's twisted mind - just when you think you've sussed it he throws another spanner in the works. Peter Forbes is yet again the best person to read this. Each character is clearly defined and he draws you into the story. First Class!
Scottish press reported that Ian Rankin was somewhat apprehensive that this book would receive critical reviews..... No need to worry.... certainly held up the "Rebus Reputation" although centred around DI Fox, it was a great story with "Rebus OVERTONES!" Really enjoyable... The narrator is really good with a great voice
I have looked forward to this book since the first in the series came out. To be honest it was a slow starter, but it becomes another excellent Fox book.
As usual Ian Rankin lives up to all expectetion. Fox is a great pithy character anyone who enjoyed the Rebus novels will enjoy this
I have read and listened to all of Ian Rankins books and they are great. Just thought this was a little tired and lacked spark. The narrator sounded a little bored. Still good just not your best. Ill still listen/read all your future books but get yourself out of the rut please.
"Rankin's back on his game - and it's winner"
The first book after Rankin ditched Rebus was simply terrible. Then came "The Complaints" first book in this series. It was good - but not up to the Rebus books. This one is terrific - the man is back and swinging and I'm very pleased. Few mystery writers are as good as Rankin when he's on the top of his form and I was afraid we'd lost him. Happy to say, I'm back enjoying every word. Hooray for mystery readers everywhere!
"Overall good story with some contrivance"
This is basically a good plot except for one flaw: Why IS Malcolm Fox investigating this case? There is the most tenuous link between his job and the investigation that he is pursuing, and I don't think too many police departments would stand for that.
The reader does a fine job.
"Great fast paced thrill."
Fox is a very different character to Rebus, but equally complex and driven. Lots of twists. Great plot.
Better narrator. This one put me to sleep, so boring
Same voice for every character, etc.
Interesting, engrossing, well written, intelligent, very likeable characters ~ no ghastly or gross descriptions of crimes. A refined cop story, if I may call it that. Well read - Peter Forbes is a master at different voices and accents. You know who's talking when he's reading. Well paced and natural.
"Fox is no Rebus. . ."
and Ian Rankin's heart does not seem to be in this series. Disappointing!
Found my attention wandering many times during this pedestrian outing.
I'm no judge of Scottish accent, but I think the narrator did a decent job of distinguishing the characters.
"Ian rankin's new character is very real."
Ian Rankin always writes a believable and exciting mystery. He does not resort to impossible scenarios like so many popular mystery writers. The police procedures are based on actual procedures and for the knowledgeable reader this makes his characters come to life with human heroics and flaws. It seems today that most mystery writers feel the need to reach over the top fantastic and ultimately unbelievable conclusions which destroy the story and the characters. Rankin sticks to the possible and his story ends in a very satisfying way which makes you want to read the next book with these characters.
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