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The Complaints

(Malcolm Fox #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  11,003 ratings  ·  858 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
Hardcover, 381 pages
Published 2009 by Orion Books
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,003 ratings  ·  858 reviews

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Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scottish-authors
#1 in the Malcolm Fox Series.
This is a slow, methodical police procedural but it’s a very satisfying read.
Malcolm Fox is an Inspector with Lothian and Border police force, Scotland.
Malcolm works with The Complaints and Conduct Department. In other word he is the police that police the police and as such is generally hated by all of the other departments.

There is something off in The Lothian and Border Police force and it’s beginning to smell really bad. For no reason that Malcolm can think of a
James Thane
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Seth Lynch
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
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
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery

**Note: This is a reaction--a few ill-considered opinions not backed up by textual evidence-- rather than a review.**

It's always interesting to read a book from the perspective of the IAD/Complaints/Watchers of the Watchmen. As always, the watchers turn out to be just as corrupt as the watchmen. The Complaints introduces a new protagonist, Malcom Fox, who turns out to be just as rough-edged and difficult as John Rebus. I'm not sure what I think about him or his morals, but I found him a
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
A very well -written mystery... Looking forward to the next one to be published this fall...
Alexandra Pedro
Finalmente acabei. Não foi uma boa escolha para terminar uma temporada sem ler. Acho que será bom para alguém que goste deste género e este estilo de escrita simples.

Pontos positivos:
. É fácil de ler (embora consuma tempo).
. A história é bem pensada pelo autor.
. Mostra bem a Escócia.
. É tudo claramente resolvido no fim.

Pontos negativos:
. Não há uma visão clara da personalidade de cada personagem e não é fácil o leitor sentir alguma espécie de conexão com alguma delas.
. Embora seja narrado na pri
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
The creator of Rebus puts together a really interesting and intricate tale about the police and crime conspiracy centred around the Police Complaints division. More solid Edinburgh set crime lore from Rankin. 6 out of 12
Ben Dutton
Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lourdes Venard
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ian Rankin has provided us a suitable replacement for the retired Rebus in the character of Malcolm Fox. Is he Rebus?…no. Does he share the same values as Rebus?...absolutely. Fox is a reformed drinker, and much like Rebus, in that he is honest and fights for the rights of the innocent. "The Complaints" as Fox's department is investigating corruption within their own ranks. He and his colleagues are not particularly well liked as you can imagine. Ian Rankin is the master of complex pl ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I love Inspector Rebus and to have one of his "nemesis'" as a lead detective character was a brilliant idea.
Craig Pittman
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
4.5 stars really. An excellent plot line in this book but, following after the amazing Exit Music, this one didn't quite measure up to that fabulous Rebus swan song. The Complaints introduces Malcolm Fox; smart, calculating and a bit of a rule breaker himself. Inside sources told me Fox's and Rebus' paths do intersect in the next Rebus book after Exit Music, so wanted to get to know Fox in his two solo pieces first. I was not one bit disappointed with The Complaints. Although Fox is no Rebus, he ...more
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, serial-mystery
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
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is time I got caught up on my reviews. I've been just listening to audio books while traveling. Why do audio book readers insist on reading with accents? In the case of this book it's a Scottish brogue. I know the protagonist, Malcolm Fox is Scottish, and is on the Edinburgh police department. It doesn't add anything for me when the voices are done in accent, but maybe that's just me. This stand-alone mystery is very good, however. I like the characters and police procedures.
I really like Rankin's writing style but I'm unlikely to pick up another Malcolm Fox novel. There's clearly a reason the Rebus series is more popular & well known. ...more
David Graham
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Simone Perren
I liked this book. I didn't love it but it was acceptable. I don't know if maybe Ian Rankin needs a little time to fully engross himself into the character of Malcolm Fox (as this is the debut novel in the series) or if he intends to flesh out the personality a bit more, but in this book I just felt like something was lacking.
Malcolm Fox is a respected member of the Complaints and Conduct department in the police force. He and his team are responsible for investigating other police officers who
Allan MacDonell
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ian Mapp
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-series
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
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Complaints in Scotland are the equivalent of Internal Affairs here. Inspector Malcolm Fox is a Complaints detective who has just finished an investigation into a corrupt cop. The his sister's husband is killed. Then he's asked to investigate another detective who might be involved with child porn. Soon the plot really thickens as each realizes they are being set up, but by whom and why?

Not the regular Rebus novel, I hope Rankin continues with Fox who is a very good character, but then, Rankin is
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I was introduced to Malcolm Fox a bit out of order since I read the later Rebus books with him in them first before reading this non-Rebus intro. I felt like a less convoluted story line may have left a bit more time for more background development on Fox -we get a bit more in the later Rebus novels. But he is billed as lily white when in fact he is just as willing to bend the rules/obfuscate as Rebus. Sounds like a younger version of Rebus in fact.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scotland
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.
Jo Ring
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good. Hope there are more books with these characters.
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Read Scotland 2018: #1 is done! 1 12 Feb 05, 2018 02:26PM  

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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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