It’s been about 8 years since I read an Ian Rankin novel. I loved his Inspector Rebus character who is now departed, I’ve now been prodded to read the latter ones of that series having read read The Impossible Dead. This is the second of his books featuring his new guy, Malcolm Fox, who works for The Complaints department of Internal Affairs, investigating police irregularities. I’m a bit keen on Malcolm, he is a genuine, straight up, hard working nice guy. Lots of stuff going on in his life, a Dad who is suffering from altzheimers, a sister who is bitter that Malcolm is paying for his Dad’s care but who doesn’t have the time to spend with him (or her), the fighting between Malcolm and his sister feels really genuine.
Plenty of things to deal with in his personal life without the re-connection with a woman he had a brief fling with, and who is useful to him in his current case. A case which harkens back to the past. A past where Scottish politics were rife, where the lines had been drawn and where activists were involved in all kinds of illegal protests, guns, bombings and more. The case the Complaints is investigating brings up lots of these tensions from the past and it seems that the hatchet may not have been buried. Fox and his team from The Complaints are in unfriendly turf and dealing with a case which threatens the police team which are hosting them.
There is a lot going on but it is told in such a gentle way, this book just grabbed me and swept me along. A really great crime novel and I’m now looking forward to reading the first Malcolm Fox book The Complaints, Foxy and I are going to be firm friends! If you want to see a rather nice interview with Ian Rankin have a look at the video below.