Monday, March 14, 2011

The Complaints by Ian Rankin

book cover

The Complaints
by Ian Rankin

ISBN-13: 9780316039741
Hardback: 448 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Released: March 7, 2011

Source: Advanced Reading Copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Nobody likes The Complaints--they're the cops who investigate other cops--and it's where Malcolm Fox works. He's a serious man and recovering alcoholic with a father in a nursing home and a sister who persists in an abusive relationship.

Then his sister's abusive boyfriend is found dead, brutally murdered. A cop who hates Fox's guts is in charge of the murder investigation and uses this opportunity to harass Fox and his sister.

Worse, Fox has been assigned to help another department investigate a cop named Jamie Breck. Breck is working on the murder case, and he seems like an honest cop. He's also the only one really trying to solve the murder. When one wrong move gets both of them put on suspension and under investigation by Complaints detectives, they begin to wonder if there's more to their cases than meets the eye.

My Review:
The Complaints is a British detective mystery. Despite Fox's job in Complaints, Fox ended up investigating a murder (with some conspiracy thrown in) rather than the ethical behavior of another cop. The details of the job and setting were woven into the story and did a good job of bringing the story alive in my imagination.

There were a few slow spots in the story, and I never felt much suspense since the main character didn't seem upset or scared. The mystery was fairly complex and kept my interest, but I found the characters more engaging than the mystery.

Breck and the other characters were interesting and engaging, but Fox--our viewpoint character--didn't seem to feel much in reaction to what was going on. We got hints that he was upset through his actions. However, I'm used to getting an "inside look" at the emotions and motives of the viewpoint character even if they're supposed to appear calm or reserved to everyone else. I liked Fox well enough, but this meant I sometimes didn't understand his actions.

The main thing I didn't understand was also a critical one. I understand that Fox wanted his sister's boyfriend's murderer caught so that the cop in charge of the case would stop harassing her to get revenge on Fox. However, Breck was doing a good job on the case, didn't need Fox's help, and kept Fox up-to-date. Fox knew that butting in on the case could get him in major trouble, yet he did anyway. I never understood why.

There was no sex. There were a few obscene gestures and a minor amount of explicit bad language. Overall, it was an interesting but not outstanding novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an except of chapter one.

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