It seems like absolutely no time since I was in the kitchen listening to an interview with Ian Rankin on the radio. So it was a wee bit of a shock to me to realise that it must have been a 2009 interview, as the book he was plugging at the time was The Complaints, the first in a new series. The next thing I heard was that he was bringing back Rebus in his most recently published book and that it’s also his third Malcolm Fox book. I thought I’d better start reading the Malcolm Fox series before it gets out of hand and he has written 20 of them.
I managed to borrow the Complaints from the library. It’s set mainly in Edinburgh, as you would expect and Malcolm Fox is the main character. He’s a detective working in the Complaints section of the Lothian Police, they investigate other policemen and are deeply despised by all of their so-called colleagues. Fox is described as a bear of a man, although he has lost weight recently and he is also a recovering alcoholic. He’s not exactly popular, even amongst the other Complaints and Conduct detectives.
I really didn’t feel that I was enjoying this book until I was almost half way into it, I think that was mainly because I was missing Rebus and I kept imagining Fox as the Rebus character but eventually I got over that and I ended up enjoying The Complaints more than the Rebus books, mind you, I think I’ve only read about four of those.
The action takes place over just 17 days in 2009. Malcolm Fox has been told to investigate Jamie Breck, a young detective who has been ear-marked for fast-tracking to the top. There’s plenty going on in and around Edinburgh, murders and disappearances, dodgy business dealings and corrupt council officials and nobody knows who they can trust. It’s difficult to figure out who are the good guys and there are plenty of twists and turns in this book, I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the Fox series.
It’s easy to see that the nefarious goings-on of Edinburgh Council give Ian Rankin loads of copy!