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Complicity Paperback – November 12, 2002
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1984, Banks's first novel, The Wasp Factory, attained cult status in England for its accomplished yet brutal portrait of a serial killer. His newest novel (after Against a Dark Background) carries on that tradition by centering on a series of cruel, if poetically just, killings. The point of view shifts back and forth between that of the unnamed murderer, whose outrages are presented in the second person, and that of an Edinburgh-based journalist, Cameron Colley, who's tracking the killer and whose story is told in the first person. The police think that Colley, who models himself slavishly on "St. Hunter" (Hunter S. Thompson)-downing double whiskeys, smoking dope, speaking a gonzo slang and carrying on an S&M affair with a married woman- is the murderer. Certainly, Colley feels a certain admiration for that avenging angel, who tailors his punishments to fit his victims' supposed crimes, e.g., brutally raping a judge who once exhibited leniency to a rapist. Banks's handling of this volatile scenario is extremely graphic, sadistic-and rather obvious, though effective. He's a good enough writer to seduce readers into sharing not only Colley's admiration for the killer but also, through his use of the second person, the killer's relish in the act of murder: complicity, indeed.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Although this remarkable novel will first strike readers as a burned-out journalist's distasteful account of his pathetically shallow and lonely life, it soon becomes clear that author Banks is just playing cat-and-mouse with his audience. Before long, we are mesmerized by Banks' violent and disturbing story about a latter-day avenger who's lost faith in the system's ability to punish wrongdoers. Cameron Colley, a Scottish journalist, is a disillusioned but likable cokehead who treats life--and the articles he writes for his Edinburgh newspaper--with cheerful disdain. While Cameron is blithely snorting coke, somewhere in Scotland a "self-styled avenger" is busy designing his own psychotically savage punishments for the judge who was overly lenient with a rapist, the pornographer who made one too many snuff films, and the amoral businessman whose negligence caused hundreds of deaths. All the obvious clues are leading the police to Colley, who swears he's been framed--but by whom? If he can just figure out who knows him well enough to set him up--and who among his acquaintances is clever enough and deranged enough to extract such terrible justice--maybe he can solve the mystery and get the police off his case. Dark, cynical, shocking, but immensely satisfying, this one's a must-have. Emily Melton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
COMPLICITY is flawed, but strange, intriguing, and very sensual in that it feels written by a person. Does that make sense? You know, written by a warm-blooded, passionate, angry, sensitive, embittered, feeling human being, and not a little troll-bot churned out by all the terrible creative writing programs of the universities. And of course he sort of predates the MFA factory mill of dull and dry drivel, so he mostly lucked out in that he likely would never have been drawn into academics and writing the way someone tells you you have to write in order to be published in GRANTA or whatever and be respected.
Anyway, I digress. This is a strange tale of mass murder, and those murders are all explicit, creative, disgusting, and politically motivated. Here's where I had one snag with the book. I didn't completely grasp the political message that the murders were all a foil for. Banks had one, definitely, and one message is blatantly clear--conservatives are evil, thoughtless, selfish, unfeeling f***s. And maybe that's all there is to it, but maybe I'm missing something because Banks is talking about UK politics--and as a Scots, of course.
I also picked this one up because I recently read and LOVED The Wasp Factory, and Iain said he thought this one was closest to it but "without the happy ending". So, of course I picked it up, and it certainly is dark and strange, but also ripe with humor moments on nearly every page. It is, however, a thriller and it fits squarely within the genre. The Wasp Factory was a slim volume of meanderings and wanderings and purely literary--it was a book with a plot (as nearly all books eventually are), but one that most definitely wasn't concerned with plot. So, definitely a difference between the two.
While I think the politics didn't always hit their mark in being tied to the action of this book, and while I didn't find the ending wholly satisfactory, I kind of loved this book, too, and will be reading many more Iain Banks books in the future. Always sad when you discover an author you really dig only to find out they died recently, and a tad too early at that. But at least he's got a lot of books to wade through.
This is an action packed thriller that keeps changing the reader's perspective from a crusading murderer...to Scottish journalist (who is man with a number of flaws!). When describing the killer's actions, he keeps using 2nd person - such as 'You open the door' or 'You disarm the alarm'. So you are along for the ride in the passenger seat for each graphic misadventure.
I was quickly engaged by the characters, who are all well thought out. The main character is like an onion, with surprise after surprise becoming aparent as the layers are peeled back.
Most recent customer reviews
This novel is perhaps the most predictable of Iain Banks novels since it...Read more