The Impossible Dead Book Review

The Impossible Dead Book Review

Title: The Impossible Dead
Author: Ian Rankin
Published: 2011, Orion
No. of Pages: 423
Cover Price: $7.99 US

In the second novel of the Malcolm Fox Series by bestselling author Ian Rankin, Malcolm Fox, who works in Complaints (internal investigations against other police officers), is assigned to investigate whether three fellow police officers tampered with evidence and covered up for Detective Paul Carter, who has been found guilty in court of soliciting sex and other favors from women. As Fox and two other officers, Tony Kaye and Joe Naysmith, begin to investigate, they find that almost everyone in the department resents their presence, and most go out of their way to thwart the investigation. As the novel unfolds, the victim who is credited with the conviction of Carter, Teresa Collins, attempts suicide after a visit from Fox and his assistants where she learns that Carter is no longer in custody and freaks out. Shortly afterward, Carter’s uncle, a retired policeman who filed the original complaint against him, commits suicide; Fox rushes to the scene and finds Carter’s best friend and the main suspect in the evidence cover-up against Carter, Ray Scholes, at the scene. Of course the reader assumes this so-called suicide is a blatant murder orchestrated by Carter and his friends. As Fox works to uncover the truth he becomes interested in a murder that occurred 25 years prior, and suspects that it has something to do with the case he's working on. As he investigates, there are several twists and turns; by the end, as Fox discovers the truth, the reader is blind sighted with an unexpected ending.

While this novel does keep the readers' interest, it is fairly slow-moving, and readers will wonder why an inspector from Complaints is investigating a 25 year-old murder that has nothing to do with his department. Obviously he has no business sticking his nose into the matter, but somehow, does it anyway, against the wishes of his bosses and other officers in other jurisdictions. Fox, who isn't known for following the rules, pushes things to the limit, and unfortunately, many of the goings-on are not particularly believable.

Ian Rankin, a Scottish author, is one of the most popular suspense/thriller authors in the world, and is generally known for his widely-popular Rebus series; a series considered by many to be first-rate. The Fox series novels are set in Scotland, and the Scottish culture is evident and adds some charm, especially for those readers who are mostly familiar with US novelists. However, it’s difficult to get excited about the characters – they seem to be a little flat – and since there are other series that are faster-moving with dynamic characters, my recommendation would be to skip this novel and read one of them instead.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: The Impossible Dead (Malcolm Fox)

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