Malcolm Fox returns in the stunning second novel in Ian Rankin's series...
Malcolm Fox and his team are back, investigating whether fellow cops covered up for Detective Paul Carter. Carter has been found guilty of misconduct, but what should be a simple job is soon complicated by a brutal murder and a weapon that should not even exist.
A trail of revelations leads Fox back to 1985, a year of desperate unrest when letter-bombs and poisonous spores were sent to government offices, and kidnappings and murders were plotted. But while the body count rises the clock starts ticking, and a dramatic turn of events sees Fox in mortal danger.
Insp. Malcolm Fox proves a worthy successor to John Rebus in Rankin's satisfyingly layered second novel featuring the Edinburgh Internal Affairs cop (after The Complaints). Fox and his two colleagues receive a frosty reception in Kirkcaldy, where they must decide whether a disgraced officer's three fellow cops helped cover up his misdeeds. Det. Constable Paul Carter, found guilty of sexual misconduct, intrigues Fox because it was Carter's ex-copper uncle, Alan, who turned him in. Since interviewing the belligerent Carter and his mates leads nowhere, Fox turns to Alan for insight. He discovers the elder Carter was hired by a prestigious lawyer to look into the 1985 "suicide" or possible murder of Francis Vernal, a fellow attorney, well-known orator, and vocal supporter of the fringe Scottish separatist movement. Soon Fox's attention is divided between following up scant leads in the Carter investigation and unearthing decades-old secrets about Vernal's life and associates. Rankin elegantly weaves together the two story lines without forcing a connection.
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A cracker read
The second book of Ian Rankin, master storyteller, on Malcolm Fox of The Complaints proves that Rankin is just as adept on creating well crafted, highly original crime stories on that 'other Scotland' that doesn't make the tourist brochures without his trademark Rebus, as he is with.
What you can revel in with this book is Rakin's commitment to the gritty side of life, stark but true to reality, with all it's complexities. It is what make his characters so interesting, as they navigate the many shades of grey in this seamy hidden underworld - his heroes all have drive that go beyond the sensible, like grown-ups who know better but nonetheless still can't help but pick at the scabs so they can better understand the wound. Fox, in particular, manages to maintain an elusiveness to the reader that gives him an air of mystery, that we manage to get tantalising glimpses of as the story progresses and we start to see the threads of the tale come together.
What I really like about Rankin is that while he brings his stories to satisfying conclusions, he also leaves subtle commentary through that poses questions to the reader for which he leaves them to answer - 'The Impossible Dead' being no different. It's what makes his books so worthy of a repeated read - especially since they seem to lose none of their impact in the process.
Well worth a purchase, and just the perfect read for a drizzly dark night like that of the Edinburgh that Rankin paints so well.
Captured my interest from the first sentence. If you enjoy a Rankin tale, the new Malcolm Fox series is a winner. Cant wait for the next story.