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The Complaints (Malcolm Fox #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  6,863 ratings  ·  614 reviews
Nobody likes The Complaints--they're the cops who investigate other cops. It's a department known within the force as "The Dark Side," and it's where Malcolm Fox works. He's a serious man with a father in a nursing home and a sister who persists in an abusive relationship, frustrating problems about which he cannot seem to do anything.

Then the reluctant Fox is given a new
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Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 2nd 2011 by Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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James Thane
With this book, Ian Rankin, the author of the very popular series featuring Scottish detective John Rebus, introduces a new protagonist, Malcolm Fox. Fox is also a Scottish police detective, but he belongs to the Complaints and Conduct division, usually known as the Complaints, which is the Scottish equivalent of Internal Affairs. Fox and his colleagues investigate other cops who have been accused of improper conduct.

As the book opens, Fox is assigned to investigate another detective, Jamie Brec
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Ed
I read this book in reverse order. I read the second book in the series first but had no difficulty appreciating both truly extraordinary mysteries from, in my view, the master of UK crime fiction, Ian Rankin. This first book in Rankin's new series sets up the characters operating in one of Edinburgh's Internal Affairs units known in the UK as the "Complaints". This is a brilliantly crafted novel that challenged my deductive reasoning process with it's mind numbing plot complexity and surprising ...more
Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seth Lynch
I listened to the Audiobook version of this book narrated by Peter Forbes. He did an excellent job. I’ve generally been impressed by the readers of the audiobooks I have listened to – the free librivox ones aren’t in the same league as the paid for versions (or in my case borrowed from the library versions)


This book has lots of threads which are slowly lain before us as the chapters evolve and then tied up nicely at the end. The story focuses on a member of the police complaints who finds himsel
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Lourdes Venard
Insp. John Rebus has retired, so from Rankin we now get a different type of cop: Malcolm Fox, who works for The Complaints and Conduct, the cops who investigate other cops. He and his team have just finished a case involving veteran officer Glen Heaton, meaning The Complaints has stirred up some more anger. Fox is also dealing with his sister, who is being physically abused by her live-in boyfriend, when he's asked to start investigating another cop who worked with Heaton, this time as part of a ...more
Barbpie
I enjoyed listening to this book on c.d. in my car because it was read by a Scottish person and I love that accent. Malcolm Fox is a likeable if dour hero and I admire his sobriety.
Simon
I liked the twists and turns of this one. As others have mentioned, I found the pace a little slow and the book could have been shorter.
Allan MacDonell
Ian Rankin’s Detective Inspector John Rebus, of the Edinburgh homicide department, is upon initial encounter, and long after, one of the freshest flawed heroes in crime fiction. Rebus is a juicer, a failure with relationships in general and a bane to specific women, a pain in the ass to his bosses, peers and underlings, a moody Celt given to bestirring the atmospheric misgivings of his brooding soul with the bulky melancholy of Scots troubadour of disquietude Jon Martyn’s most daunted album, Gra ...more
Michelle
I found myself instantly liking the protagonist Malcolm Fox. He struggles with a history of alcoholism, has a father in a care home, and a sister who is in an abusive relationship and has her own rocky time with drinking. Along with the many things he has to juggle in his personal life, his work in the "Complaints" earns him the contempt and hostility of fellow police officers. Those in the Complaints are asked (none too kindly) how they could "turn on one of their own", and if they are "without ...more
Erin
Read some great reviews of this mystery series, so started with book one and quite enjoyed it, thought I'm not yet quite convinced that I must continue on.

Malcolm Fox is a member of the police division popularly known as "The Complaints" (think Internal Affairs, so you can imagine how well liked they are). If police/crime is your genre, you're going to adore this book - the story is clever, with plenty of double-crosses (what crime is Fox REALLY investigating here? And whom? And why?) and a gre
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Kristen
If you love great mysteries set in different locales, you'll enjoy the Complaints set in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Complaints is the Scottish version of our Internal Affairs. And we're introduced to Scottish police, politics and great locales. Malcolm is part of the Complaints team, when he's embroiled into a real tough case of dirty politics and corrupt policemen. Plenty of twists and turns with tons of drama and curvy surprises to keep you at the edge of the seat. We follow Malcolm's every move ...more
Nene La Beet
An excellent book with a brilliant plot. I like Rankin's new detective - it's always interesting when the police investigates the police. Inspector Fox is very Rankin'ish, grumpy and quiet and doggedly pursuing his hunches, which he claims he don't believe in. Intelligent and self-searching - he deserves the good woman that he did not find in this first volume. Would've been wrong too.

An added pleasure was the excellent narrator Peter Forbes. Wonderfully Scottish, but much more than that. Am loo
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David Graham
I loved the Rebus books, reading all of them over a period of years, starting with Knots and Crosses in the early 90’s then following the series all the way through. After Exit Music which had been set up as the final Rebus book I took a break. I knew that Ian Rankin had started a new series but I wasn’t quite ready to leave Rebus behind which, perhaps strangely, meant it was easier to read other authors. Then a few weeks ago, I came across ‘The Complaints’ and it felt like the right time to giv ...more
My Inner Shelf
Mon premier Rankin, le croirez-vous ? J’ai longtemps eu L’étrangleur d’Édimbourg dans ma PAL, la première enquête de l’inspecteur Rébus, et je ne l’ai jamais lu. Il était temps de s’y mettre, surtout en prévision de ma visite aux Quais du Polar à Lyon, où l’auteur était annoncé (voir mon album et lire mon compte-rendu). Donc voilà, j’ai lu mon premier Rankin, en commençant par sa nouvelle série, qui met en scène Malcolm Fox, un bœuf-carotte divorcé, très compétent dans son domaine, mais un chouï ...more
Gail
This is a new detective for Ian Rankin, so maybe it will take several books to make him a more interesting person, but so far, I found both the character and the plot rather ho-hum.
Juicy Fruit
This was quite a nice read... admittedly, an airplane read, however it was enjoyable. I had never read anything by Rankin so I have no terms of comparison here, but I thought it was relatively well written, no major plot-holes and most importantly, not that predictable. I may not be very well versed in this genre, but I liked it.

I think the major disappointment was the lack of more gruesome details and of dramatic events. The book is quite mellow-paced and the plot development is very laid back
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Pamela
The narrator of the audio book was fantastic--too bad the book wasn't in the same league.

After reading Rankin's Watchman, I had huge hopes for this. Don't get me wrong. The book wasn't a waste of time. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't anything special.

What had me excited to read it is that it's from the point of view of a detective in the Complaints (or Internal Affairs). How great was it going to be to see things from the other side so to speak? Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

When other poli
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Ian Mapp
This got off to a great start and I felt it was an improvement on Doors Open.

The Complaints are the internal affairs of the Edinburgh police force. Having put away a dodgy policeman.... Malcolm Fox is given the task of bringing Jamie Breck to justice. There is a paedophile ring run from Australia and Jamie has joined through his credit card but not yet submitted the 25 pictures for full membership.

This is a great start, not least because Jamie Breck is quite charming and diligent at his job. The
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Craig Pittman
I know Scottish writer Ian Rankin is best known for his award-winning series featuring a detective named John Rebus, but somehow I missed reading all of those. Instead, I stumbled on this book and was intrigued by the title and set-up. I'm really glad I picked it up.

The book focuses on Malcolm Fox, a detective inspector from Edinburgh who works in "The Complaints," a department we in America would refer to as Internal Affairs. Fox has scored a major triumph in a case -- but in short order he is
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William
I read this after the second book in the Malcolm Fox series ("The Impossible Dead"). My reaction is about the same. These are page-turners with pretty stock characters. After two books, I still can't find many distinguishing characteristics for Fox except he is a large guy and a teetotaler because of past alcohol problems.

And, of course, like so many police procedural protagonists, he breaks the rules. Breaks them a lot. I got somewhat tired of the fact that time after time Fox is told not to do
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Mary Gramlich
THE COMPLAINTS written by Ian Rankin
03/11 - Little, Brown & Company - Hardcover, 448 pages

Where do the good guys finish in the race of life?

Malcolm Fox was one of the good guys. He was a clean cop that monitors the ones that were not always making sure that his principles were upheld. Foxy worked in Edinburgh for the division called The Complaints and Conduct Department and had the character of a slow and steady man making careful decisions and well thought out plans. He took care of his agi
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LJ
First Sentence: There was a smattering of applause as Malcolm Fox entered the room.

Malcolm Fox works in the Complaints department, the UK equivalent of Internal Affairs. He is assigned to look into fellow cop, Jamie Brock but his instincts are telling him the guy’s not dirty. On a personal front, Malcolm is responsible for his elderly father and concerned about his sister, in a physically abusive relationship. When her boyfriend turns up murdered, Fox is a suspect and he and Brock end up unlikel
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Star (The Bibliophilic Book Blog)
The Complaints is about one of the members of the Edinburgh Complaints and Conduct office (think Internal Affairs in the states), Inspector Malcolm Fox. Straight off a hugely successful case against a very corrupt police officer, Fox is asked by another division to investigate a detective for his possible embroilment with a child pornography ring. DS Jamie Breck, the suspect, is also the lead detective investigating the murder of a man named Vince, who is Fox’s sister’s boyfriend. Unfortunately ...more
Vic Van
I loved the DI Rebus series. However, when that series ended and I read mostly negative reviews about Ian Rankin's ensuing books, I, temporarily, forgot about him altogether. But then, quite by accident, (blame www.amazon.co.uk!) I found some positive reviews about this book and the follow-up, so I decided to give them a try.
Sadly, 'The Complaints' did not quite live up to my expectations. It took over 300 pages for the story to really take a decisive turn. Moreover, it lacked action and caused
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Joanne
I've liked Ian Rankin in the past, but this book is really slow going. Fox is an investigator in the complaints department, which investigates other police officers for corruption. He's prosecuting a popular officer in another district, and then his sister's boyfriend turns up dead in the other officer's district, which they try to use as leverage to get him to drop the investigation. And then there's a casino owner where the boyfriend hung out, who's the daughter of a mob boss, and married to a ...more
Eileen Conner
The character development is excellent. We get to experience a two and a half weeks in the life of Malcom Fox. He works in the complaints, the division that investigates other police. He has just wrapped up a big case, and is given an assignment to investigate Jamie Breck, a detective who might be dirty. He also has to deal with a father in a nursing home and a sister in an abusive relationship. He discovers that there may be more at play than appears on the surface. He quickly finds his career ...more
Pamela Mclaren
Totally different from his prior series with Det. John Rebus who skated close to the edge with his mystery cases, in this book we see it from the other side, those police whose job it is to find the sins of bad cops and charge them for it. At least at first. Malcolm Fox is good at his job and thinks nothing when he is given a new assignment of a police office believed to be a pedophile. Only the guy is likable and shows no signs of a person with something to hide, especially this particular crim ...more
Edgar
A typical Ian Rankin pageturner. This time without boozy, rough at the edges, Rebus. Replaced by Malcolm Fox, more refined, but with the potential, one felt, to unleash fury if provoked. And although teetotal, to hit the spirits heavy again –there are references to his hard drinking past. This is the first detective novel I’ve read where the action centers mainly on cops checking out themselves; on the Complaints and Public Affairs Department, - Internal Affairs elsewhere. The two main cop prota ...more
Bev Walkling
This is the first book I have read by Ian Rankin so I cannot compare it to books in the Inspector Rebus series. This police procedural introduces Malcolm Fox, a solitary man who works for the Complaints department (what I would think of as Internal Affairs). Having successfully completed an investigation against one cop gone wrong, Fox is asked to start investigating another policeman. Meantime his sister has been abused by her boyfriend and suddenly, the boyfriend turns up dead. Is Fox the culp ...more
Mary
Jul 17, 2014 Mary rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Scottish police procedurals
More cerebral than the other Ian Rankins I've read, featuring Malcolm Fox come into his own. For a well-thought-out plot, it would be hard to beat, but it was a little dry: bribes and corruption among Edinburgh's developers, and the impact of that crime on the police department's Complaints unit--what would be "Internal Affairs" in the states.

More police procedural than detective story, the ins and outs of the fairly obscure hierarchy among Scotland's police jurisdictions were a tad opaque. And
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33031
AKA Jack Harvey.

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987; the Rebus books are now translated into 22 languages and are bestsellers on several continents.

Ian Rankin has been elected a
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More about Ian Rankin...

Other Books in the Series

Malcolm Fox (2 books)
  • The Impossible Dead
Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus, #1) Exit Music (Inspector Rebus, #17) Black and Blue (Inspector Rebus, #8) Hide and Seek (Inspector Rebus, #2) Let It Bleed (Inspector Rebus, #7)

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“[About a tiresome colleague]: He could bore for Scotland.” 6 likes
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