Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Complaints

I can never make up my mind whether I'm a pessimistic optimist or an optimistic pessimist. Either way the glass is neither half empty or half full, for me. I think I just wonder why someone drank the first half and left the rest?

Remembered on the way home that I hadn't mentioned reading Ian Rankin's latest book, The Complaints. My wife and I became a great fan of Rankin while in England where we read several of the Inspector Rebus novels while travelling around. (I seem to remember we discovered him in Florence - someone left one of the novels in the hotel we stayed in.)

The Complaints doesn't feature Rebus (who may have been 'retired' by Rankin, I think) and the main character doesn't quite have the edge that Rebus possesses, nor the sheer bloody-mindedness that makes the latter so enjoyable, but he's a person in his own right, and he has a side-kick who kept me guessing throughout as to whether he was on the side of the angels or not.

The Complaints are a section of the Scottish police force who investigate other policemen, those who've been suspected of corruption, or bribery, or anything else that's against the law. When the story opens they've just finished a major case, and the main character (whose name escapes me, as does the copy of the book for the moment1) is settling on his lees until he finds that he might also be in the poo. Typical of a Rankin tale there are complications galore, and you have to keep your wits about you to know why who did what did it when; as well, there are some impoverished relationships, and even the ones that are working seem likely to fall apart if the participants aren't careful.

I don't know that it's my favourite Rankin, but it's certainly a page-turner, and his writing style is, as always, superb.

1 Just saw that the main character's name is Malcolm Fox, a name that gets played around with quite a bit in the story.
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