The Complaints by Ian Rankin

`The Complaints’ is the first book in Ian Rankin’s new series involving DCI Malcolm Fox. This book is much less dark than many of the Rebus books and as such I found it an easier read. The complaints is the name given to the group of cops who investigate other cops for misconduct and Malcolm Fox is one of them.

Malcolm Fox seems to be full of conflicts. He carries out a very unlikeable job (who would want to investigate fellow cops) but he is a fairly likeable person (looking after an aging father and abused sister). He makes sure that other cops follow the rules, but then pushes the boundaries himself when required.

Fox has just been given a new assignment. He is to investigate Jamie Breck whose name has just been associated with a paedophile website. But Vince, the abusive partner of Fox’s sister has just been found murdered and Breck is part of the investigating team and Fox is a suspect in the murder.

So Fox is facing a conflict of interest.

Added to this, Fox and Breck immediately get on with each other and both have trouble believing that the other has done any wrong. Pretty soon, they are investigating together outside of the official investigation and find themselves suspended.

But the more they investigate, the more it looks like they have both been set up and pretty soon they have no-one they can trust apart from each other. And, they’re not really sure about that.


This was an excellent story with Fox fighting to unravel the dark side of Edinburgh’s criminal underworld, and the corrupt cops that are part of it.

I found myself warming more to Jamie Breck than Malcolm Fox and actually started to lose sight of Fox from time to time. I still enjoyed Fox as a character and look forward to reading more novels in the series. It was nice to read about a character capable of friendships despite his job (unlike Rebus). I hope we see Jamie Breck again too. I’m looking forward to the next novel – ‘The Impossible Dead’.


Book Published 2009



See a full list of books by Ian Rankin

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