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The Complaints Paperback – November 2, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Rankin's Det. Insp. John Rebus will be disappointed by this so-so police procedural, his second stand-alone since Rebus "retired" (after Doors Open). Malcolm Fox—call him Rebus "Lite" (he doesn't drink, he broods less, and he has none of Rebus's wit)—works for the Scottish equivalent of Internal Affairs, "Complaints and Conduct" (aka "the Complaints"), which investigates corrupt cops. Fox looks into the case of Det. Sgt. Jamie Breck, who may be trading in child pornography over the Internet. Meanwhile, when Vince Faulkner, Fox's sister's lover and abuser, turns up dead, Fox becomes a murder suspect. A torturously complicated plot follows involving the suspicious suicide of a failing property developer, large-scale money laundering, and crookedness at every level of Scottish society, but nothing's really at stake. As always with Rankin, Scotland itself is a main character—"the whole of Scotland's in meltdown," says Fox—and that may be this tepid novel's main attraction. 10-city author tour. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the wake of Exit Music (2008), the concluding volume in his celebrated John Rebus series,Rankin has picked a most unlikely new hero. Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox works for “the Complaints,” the despised internal-affairs division whose job it is to investigate other cops. Succeeding the Rebus novels, starring the quintessential maverick copper, with a series built around a cop-hunting cop seems akin to J. K. Rowling following Harry Potter with seven extra-thick novels about a classroom tattletale. And, yet, Rankin pulls it off, making Fox the fall guy in an elaborate police conspiracy and causing him to join forces with a detective under suspicion of peddling child porn. The strange-bedfellows angle drives the interpersonal dynamics here—and augurs well for future installments—as Fox, working off the books, investigates the murder of someone very close to home and attempts to turn the frame-up on its end. Some crime writers keep writing the same series with different characters, but Rankin deserves credit for going another way altogether. Fox is a good and quiet citizen compared to Rebus (he doesn’t drink and listens to birdsong on the radio, not classic rock), but Rankin doesn’t hold any of that against his new hero, proving that you can build complex, highly textured, series-worthy characters from the most unlikely of raw materials. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A new series from the internationally best-selling Rankin is very big news in the mystery world, and his publisher will spread the word in every conceivable way—even including transit ads in New York and San Francisco. --Bill Ott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (November 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031607876X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316078764
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Oh, Rebus we miss you! Ian Rankin retired Rebus, and now he has given us Inspector Malcolm Fox. Fox is a reformed drinker, teetotaller, and much like Rebus, in that he is honest and fights for the rights of the innocent. The 'drink' is what separates these men, and it goes to show us how much of a problem alcohol can be.

Inspector Fox works in the 'Complaints and Conduct' department in Edinburgh. The difference is that this is the time of great economical distress. Things are falling apart and crime is rising. 'The Complaints' as Fox's department is known deals with racism and corruption in the police department. He is not well liked by his colleagues because his business is investigating them. Much is hush hush, and Fox has just come off a big case that implicates a well known officer. Now, he is asked to help investigate an officer who may be implicated as a pedophile. The problem is this man, Jamie Breck, is also investigating a death that is close to Fox's sister. How complicated can this get, very! Fox is asked to get close to Breck to find out as much as he can. What Fox does discover is that there isn't much and what he does uncover leads to more complications and implications. The high and the mighty might fall and they cannot allow Fox to reveal their secrets.

Ian Rankin is one of those authors who is the epitome of the crime writing genre. This novel covers 18 days in 2009. Days full of adventure, violence and mystery. The fact that Rankin can build such a lot and develop these characters to their utmost is surprising. This is one of those books that is difficult to put down. And, as much as I wanted to know how Fox solves his dilemmas, I did not want the book to end. Oh, woe is me- will Inspector Fox return?

Highly Recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ian Rankin is best known for his Detective John Rebus police procedurals. When several years ago he decided to retire his alcoholic, curmudgeonly loner of a superb cop, fans were up in arms. How and with whom could Rankin replace this loveable/unlovable anti-hero? But as time went on and Rankin offered a couple of stand-alone novels, he finally found a new hero: Malcolm "Foxy" Fox.

Foxy never thought of himself as a fox. `"A bear of a man'...was the way one of his previous bosses had described him. Slow but steady, and only occasionally to be feared.'" He worked at Lothian and Borders Police HQ in the Conduct and Corrections department. In the United States they are referred to as Internal Affairs. Whether in Scotland or America, their colleagues do not trust this group of cops; they are hated for being snoops and thought of as turncoats ratting on their own.

Foxy has a lot to deal with. First and foremost is maintaining his five-year feat of beating his alcoholism. He never gives in, no matter how strong the yearning. He lives alone and cannot forgive himself for hitting his wife before she walked out. His instincts are sharp and he's very intuitive. Also on his plate is his father, who is in a nursing home he pays for, and a depressed alcoholic sister whose partner, Vince Faulkner, is a batterer he can't get her to leave. Then one night the guy doesn't come home. He's been murdered, and the complex plot moves into high gear.

Faulkner was a construction worker on a site that lost its funding and was palling around with known hoodlums. He was found bludgeoned to death and stabbed on one of the deserted building sites.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
"The Complaints" refers to the shorthand nickname for the section of the police in which the main character, Inspector Malcolm Fox, works: Complaints and Conduct (the equivalent of Internal Affairs or Ethical Standards in other jurisdictions). Fox, fresh from a successful investigation into a corrupt copper, is asked to check out another officer, Detective Sergeant Jamie Breck, who is suspected of involvement in a child pornography network. At the same time, he has to deal with the aftermath of a murder of someone connected to his family. Of course, it soon transpires that these two seemingly unrelated events are anything but coincidence, and as Fox starts looking into matters further, he finds himself both professionally and personally at risk.

I'm not going to reveal any more of the plot than that, as I'll be heading into spoiler territory. As always, Rankin's depiction of Edinburgh, and particularly the police and local crooks, is vivid and believable, and I liked the depiction of the relationship between Fox and Breck; both of these characters are well-drawn. The narrative moves along swiftly, and while not being totally "unputdownable", the story is absorbing. Unfortunately, the plot proves somewhat too convoluted and moves too fast towards the end, to the extent that like a previous reviewer, I found myself flicking back to previous chapters to double check who Character X was and to make sure I hadn't missed something. While I can't quite explain why, I didn't feel the same sense of attachment to Fox, Breck and co. as I did to John Rebus, Siobhan Clarke, etc. Rather than being totally immersed in the story, as I have often experienced in a number of the Rebus novels, I felt much more like an observer, at a distance from the characters. That said, it's still well worth the read. 3.5 stars, rounded up.
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