Saturday 24 March 2018

Review: The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

Orion, £18.99

When Inspector Malcolm Fox and his team, Sergeant Tony Kaye and Constable Joe Naysmith, arrive at the police station in Kirkcaldy, a small coastal town in Fife, they are met with unveiled contempt.

They are the Complaints, the men from Internal Affairs, whose task is to investigate crooked cops. They are in Fife to determine if fellow cops in Kirkcaldy covered up for a corrupt colleague called Detective Paul Carter, who had been shopped by his own uncle, a former policeman.

Fox and his men are used to this kind of hostility, but what, on the face of it, should have been a routine investigation becomes infinitely more complicated when Carter's uncle dies in a shooting clumsily disguised as a suicide with a weapon that officially should not exist.

Fox discovers that the case has strong links to 1985, a year of political turmoil and terrorism in Scotland. Although his superiors warn him off, Fox keeps digging into the violent events of 1985 and soon begins to suspect that some of those involved may have succeeded in hiding their violent past and could now be hiding in plain sight in positions of political and social influence.

This is the second novel in Ian Rankin's intriguing new Complaints series, inspired by the real-life, mysterious and unsolved death in 1985 of Willie McRae, a prominent Scottish solicitor with links to the SNLA terrorist group.

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