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Extended Audio Sample The Complaints, by Ian Rankin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,474 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ian Rankin Narrator: Peter Forbes Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Malcolm Fox Series Release Date:
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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 case. There’s a cop named Jamie Breck, and he’s dirty. The problem is, no one can prove it. As Fox takes on the job, he learns that there’s more to Breck than anyone thinks—dangerous knowledge, especially when a vicious murder takes place far too close to home.

In The Complaints, Rankin proves again why he is one of the world’s most beloved and bestselling crime writers, mixing unstoppable pacing with the deeper question of who decides right from wrong.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The author disappointed many of his fans when he retired the beloved John Rebus. But I predict the grumbling will be short lived once Rankin’s readers meet Inspector Malcolm Fox in The Complaints.”

    John M. Wills, New York Journal of Books

  • “Intoxicating…The voice is so dynamic that Rankin’s characters leap off the page.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Rankin has picked a most unlikely new hero. Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox…The strange-bedfellows angle drives the interpersonal dynamics here—and augurs well for future installments—as Fox, working off the books, investigates the murder of someone very close to home and attempts to turn the frame-up on its end. Some crime writers keep writing the same series with different characters, but Rankin deserves credit for going another way altogether. Fox is a good and quiet citizen compared to Rebus (he doesn’t drink and listens to birdsong on the radio, not classic rock), but Rankin doesn’t hold any of that against his new hero, proving that you can build complex, highly textured, series-worthy characters from the most unlikely of raw materials.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “[A] work that again brings to life the mean streets of Edinburgh…Fox is a complex character with a strong moral sense. This sense sometimes is flawed; his trust is betrayed, and sorting out the villains is a bittersweet victory. Verdict: Rankin, an Edgar and Diamond Dagger winner, is back in top form here. Few authors equal his character-driven crime fiction that pulls the reader into such vividly drawn place and plot. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • The Complaints is superb on every level and begging for a follow-up.”


  • “Rankin adds another Edinburgh cop to his repertoire. Malcolm Fox, five years sober and still missing the vodka…Hidden agendas abound, not only among career criminals but among various coppers, including the chief unspector and the chief constable. Will readers miss Rankin’s long-running protagonist, John Rebus? Don’t see why they should. Bonus: Rankin’s plotting and prose are as compelling as ever.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “With its Edinburgh setting, suave crime lords, and renegade officers, The Complaints will be familiar territory to Rebus fans—even if its hero isn’t. Getting to know this man, an intriguing mix of apathy and action, is almost like a courtship—each new situation reveals something that makes the reader want to know yet more.”

    Independent (London)

  • “An excellent cop novel full of action, good dialogue, well-crafted characters, and an authentic backdrop.”

    Times (London)

  • “If the point of crime fiction is to make you think while entertaining you—and I believe it is—then Ian Rankin definitely does it better than most.”

    Globe and Mail (Canada)

  • “Rankin is a master at what, for me, is one of the important aspects of a crime novel: the integration of setting, plot, characters, and a theme which, for Rankin, is the moral dimension never far from his writing…Fox is so fully realized and interesting a character, his job in ‘the complaints’ so fraught with fascinating possibilities, that we can surely hope to meet him again.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “As performed by Scottish actor Peter Forbes, cosmopolitan Edinburgh comes alive as a city with a gritty underside. While some Rankin fans may miss Inspector Rebus, most will want to become better acquainted with the equally complex Fox. Of particular interest to fans of Denise Mina and Michael Robotham; a great choice for all mystery lovers.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “It’s often said that the main character in Ian Rankin’s crime thrillers is the city of Edinburgh itself. Peter Forbes delivers the first in Rankin’s new series with all the charm, cunning, and grit that the great city possesses…Forbes flawlessly narrates the story with a complexity that matches the plot and the character of Rankin’s newest inspector.”


  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, March 2011
  • One of the 2011 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Thrillers

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Robin | 2/18/2014

    " Malcolm Fox investigates other cops and his world is particularly shadowy. He's asked to investigate Jamie Breck, but is Breck dirty. Fox is similar to Rebus in his cussedness and moral sense, but not in his boozing (he's teetotal) or his bleak outlook. And once again, Edinburgh is a star of the show. Tinged with sadness, but Rankin is on form again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by librarianh20 | 2/15/2014

    " I enjoyed this! It was a slow build, but I think it turned out to be an excellent set up for a new series from the author. I need to read some of his other books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Margaret | 2/14/2014

    " A bit grim but competently done. I never really cared about any of the characters though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sharron | 1/4/2014

    " not a Rebus book but it's great. complex plot and creditable characters. "

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