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Let down by an over complicated plot.
The Complaints - Ian Rankin
Member Name: Gemma_C
The Complaints - Ian Rankin
Date: 27/04/10, updated on 27/04/10 (133 review reads)
Advantages: I was hooked at the start, great characters and great descriptions of the city.
Disadvantages: By the last quarter I was getting confused, and it became a struggle to finish.
The Complaints, or to use their full name, The Complaints and Conduct Department, are the cops who investigate the other cops. Surprisingly nobody working for the police likes The Complaints. Malcolm Fox however, works there and he's just had a good result from a case against someone. Whilst he should be feeling pretty good about that, he is bogged down with problems of his own. His frail father is in a care home, and his sister is in a violent relationship and won't listen to Malcolm.
Fox however has already been given a new task. Another dirty cop, this time called Jamie Breck. He's been asked to investigate him by the 'Chop Shop', the department who investigate online paedophiles. They think he's dirty, but no one can prove it, and they want Fox to look into this. The trouble comes however when he learns that there's more to Breck then first meets the eye... and then a murder gets thrown into the works which gets far too close to home for comfort.
~~ My Opinion ~~
Ian Rankin is rather famously known for his Inspector Rebus series which spanned 17 books ending with Exit Music in 2007. I'm a fan of the Rebus books, although admittedly I haven't managed to get through them all yet, however I always know what to expect from those books, and that's a good quality crime fiction story that won't bore me. Since the Rebus books came to a close, Rankin has done a couple of other things and The Complaints was a whole new book with a whole new main character.
Well, aside from the fact it's still set in Edinburgh and still features a divorced man who has troubles with women as the main character. Despite this I really enjoyed the setting to this story, and The Complaints is certainly not something I have read before, a story of a department who investigates their own certainly sounds promising.
The book did draw me in really quickly, with the good closure of one case Fox is starting to begin a new case involving a Jamie Breck and suspicious online activities. It sounds like a story I could get stuck into, with him trying to build up evidence against Breck and it certainly does begin like that. However a series of events begins to happen and before I knew it, the book took on a completely different direction.
I usually like a book which has a nice twist in it, and takes me where I least expect it, but with The Complaints I didn't like where it was headed at all. What started out as a great read quickly became, confusing, political and well, boring! I could not put this book down at the start, say for the first quarter of the book, but by ¾ in I was struggling to pick this up and get back into it, and every time I did I was confused with what was going on, and completely puzzled by the 'conspiracy' and the people involved.
I did really enjoy the Edinburgh setting, as I did with the Rebus books as Rankin does a brilliant job of describing the city and its darker sides that tourists don't see. The Rebus books are quite old now so it was refreshing to read a book about Edinburgh in the economic downturn, banker's pensions and PM's expenses and every time Fox set out to drive about the city, the trouble and traffic jams caused by the tram system currently being built were always being brought up. It's clear to see his books are well researched, and not just the Edinburgh knowledge but also the policing methods, it really does seem very real.
The other characters in the book were quite good, I did find the banter between Fox and his work colleagues quite amusing, and I became quite involved with all of the main characters. We meet Fox's Dad and his sister who he has plenty of time for in the start of the book, but as things start to get moving promised visits start to take the back burner. It was the uncommon characters who we never really meet but names keep cropping up that confused me, especially in the latter parts of the book and I found myself flicking back through to figure out just who was who again.
To me this book felt like Rankin hasn't truly moved away from Rebus. Whilst it is a new police department, the main character Fox seems too similar, and Rankin tries to take the story in a different direction but for me it didn't work too well. I didn't know what was happening, who was bribing who and just who the bad were from the good. The last quarter of the book for me, was a slog to the end, and I left feeling disappointed. The book started out so well and ended quite poorly in my opinion.
~~ Summary ~~
Ian Rankin might have written a brilliant series of books, but this one didn't win me over. The story changed into something completely different and ended up being a confusing conspiracy novel involving rich business men and women and had nothing to do with how the book started. The Edinburgh setting however was, as always, brilliant, and I did enjoy some of the characters.
Available in Paperback from Amazon.co.uk for £8.74
Summary: A story which changes into something different from the beginning, and leaves you confused.