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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  7,855 ratings  ·  228 reviews
COMPLICITY n. 1. the fact of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal act

Local journalist Cameron Colley writes articles that are idealistic, from the viewpoint of the underdog. A twisted serial killer seems to have the same MO -- he commits brutal murders on behalf of the underdog. As the two stories begin to merge, Cameron finds himself inextricably and inexplicably impli

Published September 9th 1993 by Little, Brown & Company (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
iain banks' sci-fi is fabulously complex and his thrillers can feel almost ostentatiously stripped-down. this is one of the latter. rather good, although rather junior league joyce carol oates as well. specifically j.c. oates under her thriller pseudonym, rosamund smith... he shares the same interest in doubles and obsessions and two characters who reflect each other's passions and weaknesses. there are also some unsurprisingly sharp critiques of materialism and various other classic and modern ...more
Sex and violence says Manny. An inferior anti-Thatcherite fantasy says Paul.

And I say….

It is about hopes and disappointments, unrequited love, bravery and cowardice. Technically, it’s a quintessentially modern English novel. There are two stories travelling at once. Neither of them is told chronologically – heaven forbid we should start at the beginning and end at the end, too passe. We do indeed have exposed sex, unexpurgated violence and a Thatcherite setting. But as well as this:

‘…because I h
Complicity is my second Banks novel, after The Wasp Factory. Both are 5 star reads, the main reason being that Banks is a captivating storyteller capable of evoking sympathy when the reader may not necessarily feel comfortable with the feeling. If life had not regularly intruded, then I would have happily and easily read this book in one sitting.

The book was unpredicatble. I was meerly guessing until approximately two-thirds through, rather far into the book when compared to what I am used to.
Jan 02, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gonzo lovers and people who like their anti heroes with a little speed frosting
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and a previous encounter with Dead Air
Isn't it nice to read a novel where you're familiar with the landscape? Iain Banks makes me feel like I've come home with his descriptions of Edinburgh, the A9, Inchmickery and the Grassmarket and he even chucks in throw-away comments about places like Carnoustie (carousing on a computer spell check). This will mean nowt to those of you who've not been to Scotland but all of the places and many of the landscape props described by Banks are real, accurately described and correct in their geograph ...more
Paul Bryant

Novels. Doncha just love them! This one was Vincent-Price-in-Theatre-of-Blood (ha ha - you worm!) crossed with the collected Marxism Today editorials of the 1980s crossed with Carry On Camping. Just, in fact, like Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up! which came out around the same time, like when Hollywood comes out with two suspiciously similar movies at once (A Bug's Life & Antz, Capote and Infamous).

I didn’t care for it and I can't think it would stand up these days. But there should be mor

An extremely superior piece of sex and violence. You know, like Hamlet or the Duchess of Malfi or something, but more explicit. Totally unputdownable.
"Complicity": the clue's in the title. To what extent are we complicit in what happens to us? This is an atmospheric, compelling, intelligent Scottish crime thriller that - like the best genre fiction - also has plenty to say on our messed up world and the human condition. I raced through this satisfying story of how dysfunctional local journalist Cameron Colley may have triggered a series of horrific revenge incidents (murder, torture etc.). The two narrative voices kept this tale tense and int ...more
Christine Mizzi
The first book I read by Banks - chosen foremostly due to its paperback exterior, and also by randomly picking it from the lending library shelf. And I must admit retrospectively that the book chose me!

Set in a real place in Scotland - also the author's homeland - I could easily picture the surroundings thanks to Banks' descriptive imagery. He skillfully entwines interesting plots such as crime, politics and sex with sub-plots such as drug use and computer games to create a rich read that leaves
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Wow. This book grabbed me and held me in its pages throughout the second half more tightly than any book has grabbed me in a long while. Well-crafted seems far too banal of a description for what Banks has achieved here.


The book grabs you right off the bat with the commission of a horrific crime. Then just a few pages later it introduces you to the protagonist, Cameron Colley: a smoking, snorting, drinking liberal Scottish newspaperman. Then only a few more pages in, you
Christine Mizzi
Banks's simple yet descriptive imagery made this book increasingly addictive as I read through the chapters. A wee confusing at first because Banks alternates chapters and subject of narration to switch between the two main characters: the murderer and the journalist. At one point he merges the style in order to confuse the reader and make you think the journalist is a highly probable suspect. Especially intriguing was the contrast between the explicit sexual scenes and the detailed torturing an ...more
The most masterful quality of Iain Banks' novel titled Complicity is its use of first and second person narration. Cameron Colley is a drug abusing journalist who is barely making it and is betting his reputation on a mysterious source giving information on a series of murders from five years ago. We read his story through his eyes, in first person. Alternately we are vicariously led by second person narration through a series of murders and humiliation assaults in present day London. These two ...more
Nene La Beet
The sad occasion that made me pick up this particular book was reading about Iain Banks terminal illness and realising that I'd never got around to reading any of his books. Giving it only three stars is not really fair, as it is quite excellent in its genre. It's probably more that I'm a bit tired of the thriller/crime-fic/social indignation genre...
It's a well enough thought out story and the protagonist, a traditional "hack", is quite credible. I always love it when books are set in Scotland
‘I’ve been out-machoing men and bedding women with that story for twenty years.’

This novel was certainly brought to us by the success of Wasp Factory. There is its celebrated violence, crude sex, and lots of illegal substances. There is a conspiracy of bad avaricious men. There is a murderer who's got very elaborate ways of eliminating those bad men (nope, not AS elaborate as those of Nesbo's characters, but getting close). There is a sloppy and reckless journalist who is supposed to give a fuck
Currently reading a succession of Iain Banks novels (not his sci fi yet). Great writer. Why did I not discover him before? So far I've read Stonemouth, good not great. Whit and Complicity great, ingenious. Solid plots, narrative I feel like reading aloud. Just started The Crow Road. So far so interesting.
4 stars to this smart, well-written novel by Iain Banks. Hell, it hurts me not to give it even a 4.5 besides not listing it among my favourites, but I have my reasons for that.

To start with, 'Complicity' is a psychological thriller set in Scotland & its protagonist Cameron Colley is an Edinburgh-based journalist. When he writes a pro-leftist piece criticising a few right-wing politicians in it & the same politicians start turning up dead in mysterious circumstances, Colley is unable to p
This book just knocked me over. It's incredibly well-written and totally gripping. I put it down once, as the first 30 pages were confusing and slow (other than the graphic, disturbing murder the book opens with). I am SO glad I picked it up again. It's become one of my favorites of Banks, whom I love.

It's about a deeply fucked up journalist who's implicated in a series of politically motivated killings. The journalist is addicted to stimulants, video games, and alcohol, and is basically barely
Cameron Colley is a 30-ish Scottish journalist with liberal leanings, a tendency to binge on alcohol and other (illicit) stimulants, and an ongoing clandestine relationship with his childhood sweetheart Yvonne. Unfortunately for Cameron, Yvonne is married to their mutual friend William. A more serious problem is presented by the exploits of a Dexter-like serial killer, who is engaged in a spree of execution-style killings of prominent business leaders and corrupt politicians for which he is syst ...more
It's very graphic. More than I usually like. It was rec to me so I finished it. The serial killer identity wasn't hard to guess at all. I knew who it was mid way through.

The serial killer second person point of view is well done but the descriptions of rape, torture, murder are very very graphic and do make a point but I'm the kind of reader that finds that less graphic description and the images you make in your own mind of the actions when the writer does it well are more frightening and bett
Iain Banks is by far one of my favorite writers. I started reading his science fiction (published as Iain M. Banks), and after nearly reading all of those and still wanting more, I moved on to his non-science fiction (which can still be pretty science fiction-y). 'Complicity' is the story of two sets of murders, one series having taken place years ago, one series taking place now. Cameron Colley is a journalist in Edinburgh who is getting tips from a mole about the older murders. Meanwhile conse ...more
3 and a half stars. the most interesting thing about this early work, basically a suspense novel though not billed as one, is the evolution in the reader's view of the narrator. at first he seems to epitomize all the excess of the Thatcher era, but very gradually he reveals himself (to himself as much as anyone) as consistently in opposition to its tenets. it's a point of view he's always expressed but never really thought about before in relation to his own life. so gradually he knows himself a ...more
Ian Banks
I remember enjoying this when it first came out and when I reread it nearly a decade ago. While the references to politics and computer specs have dated this novel it still feels relevant, especially in these days of Occupy and Anonymous. It's also as funny as hell as well, which - as in his previous novel Against A Dark Background - makes it even more grim when Bad Stuff Starts To Happen. What I really enjoyed about it, and am noticing with increasing frequency through my gradual reread of Mr B ...more
Ivan Morrin
My first Iain Banks and it won't be my last. The fact that it took me until I was 41 to pick one up tells me how much more I need to be reading generally. Complicity was impossible to put down. The characters clear and believable, the pace nicely galloping, and the plot intriguing. The dark elements contain some of the sickest imagery I've ever read, but yet none of it felt contrived or gratuitous, and I readily identified with the politics. A great read.
I have a commute that's about 75minutes in the morning, maybe longer on the way back; so, I know a book is good when I'm looking forward to my commute, because that's where I do the majority of my reading. And I've been pretty anxious these last few mornings to get on the El so I could get back to reading this novel.

COMPLICITY is flawed, but strange, intriguing, and very sensual in that it feels written by a person. Does that make sense? You know, written by a warm-blooded, passionate, angry, s
Glen Engel-Cox
Cameron Colley is an Edinburgh-based journalist with a habit for speed (both drug and motion), an obsession for computer games, and a highly developed sense of moral outrage. As a journalist, he worships the patron of all gonzos, St. Hunter S. Thompson, and his righteous indignation is expressed in print as exposes on cheap liquor, defense boondoggles, and inept judges. Of course Cameron is not without sin--no self respecting protagonist could be--and his is an adulterous affair and an abuse of ...more
This book was the next one on my list after I finished Murakami's a couple of days ago. Sadly, this timing coincides with the announcement that Iain Banks has cancer and might only have months to live. I was surprised by how sad I was to hear.
Anthony Ryan
One of Banks's darker forays into contemporary fiction is part thriller, part meditation on the human capacity for evil. If we tolerate it, even profit from it, aren't we then all culpable and worthy of punishment? Such questions take on a deadly significance for cynical nicotine addicted journalist Cameron Colley as he finds himself embroiled in the gruesomely inventive murders of a serial killer intent on targeting the corrupt, greedy and hypocritical. Set in Scotland in the early 1990s, when ...more
Harry A
This isn't his best novel, but it's good. The complicity shows up both as complicity in social ills and complicity in individual actions. The main character is forced to choose whether to be complicit, and whether to live up to his own words. But instead of being the core of the novel, the choice is almost anti-climactic (or so it seemed to me, at least), and the character is allowed to remain too shallow. So it has the seeds of a great novel in it, but (IMNSHO) Banks leaves the real conflict un ...more
Paul Gelsthorpe
I always had a soft spot for Iain Banks having read about three quarters of all his fiction when I was younger. I picked up this book as I remember it being one of his better novels and I thought it would be good to pay some dues given his untimely death last year.

This is a black thriller in essence that deals with murder, revenge and all manner of other sordid activity.

The main character is Cameron Colley, a Hunter inspired journalist working on an Edinburgh newspaper. He becomes unwillingly
Unfortunately, this book was a bit of a bust for me. It was my first book by Iain Banks, but hopefully not the last! I mistakenly picked it up off the library shelf and walked out of the library with it, thinking it was another of Banks's books until I got home and looked at it properly. Truly, I suppose this is the epitome of not "judging a book by its cover". I decided to read it despite not having wanted it in the first place, and got a good half way through the book before I made up my mind ...more
Kelsey McKim
The narrator is a Scottish journalist who imagines himself to be in the Hunter S. Thompson vein of gonzo journalism, which I appreciated as a journalism major. A second, unidentified narrator describes the murders and assaults he commits, going into sometimes hard-to-read detail in a detached, unbothered way.

This book doesn't begin as a suspenseful, check-under-the-bed-before-you-go-to-sleep thriller, but it grows into the role as it progresses. I was reading it at night and had to put it down a
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This author also published science fiction under the pseudonym Iain M. Banks.

Banks's father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater. Iain Banks was educated at the University of Stirling where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, living in Edi
More about Iain Banks...

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“The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what are, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others” 71 likes
“I sucked that smoke in and made it part of me, joined mystically with the universe right at that point, said Yes to drugs forever just by the unique hit I got from that one packet of fags Andy liberated from his dad. It was a revelation, an epiphany; a sudden realisation that it was possible for matter - something there in front of you, in your hand, in your lungs, in your pocket - to take your brain apart and reassemble it in ways you hadn't thought of previously. This was better than religion, or this was what people meant by religion! The whole point was that this worked! People said Believe In God or Do Well At School or Buy This or Vote For Me or whatever, but nothing ever worked the way substances worked, nothing ever fucking delivered the way they did. They were truth. Everything else was falsehood.” 11 likes
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