Publication date: August 5 2010
First Line - "There was a smattering of applause as Malcolm Fox entered the room."
Nobody likes The Complaints - they're the cops who investigate other cops. Complaints and Conduct Department, to give them their full title, but known colloquially as 'the Dark Side', or simply 'The Complaints'. Malcolm Fox works for The Complaints. He's just had a result, and should be feeling good about himself. But he's middle-aged, sour and unwell. He also has a father in a care home and a sister who persists in an abusive relationship.
In the midst of an aggressive Edinburgh winter, the reluctant Fox is given a new task. There's a cop called Jamie Breck, and he's dirty. Problem is, no one can prove it. But as Fox takes on the job, he learns that there's more to Breck than anyone thinks. This knowledge will prove dangerous, especially when murder intervenes.
Well now, a new genre for me. This is my first proper foray into this genre and I'm unfamiliar with everything that goes with it. Crime/mystery/thriller...police procedure, I'm not sure yet what it's best known as but I like it. From a bit of digging online I've found that the buzz word for this particular branch of the genre is 'Tartan Noir', which roughly translated means it's police procedure thriller set in Scotland...and I think they're all written by Scots too. Anyway, it's looking good.
I picked up this one because I actually want to read the second book in this series (The Impossible Dead) so had to get to this one first. That second book caught my eye as it's set in a town that I'm intimately familiar with and Malcolm Fox (the lead character) is based in the Lothian and Borders (Edinburgh) police force.
So, the story - I thought it was great! I raced though it and even before I got half way through I knew this was going to be the start of a new obsession. I loved the tension and how all the little loose ends were drawn together and it was like watching a police drama unfold on tv. I could see each of the characters clearly in my head, I could hear the voices and the dialogue, the setting...loved it all.
There's no Hollywood treatment here, it's ground level Scottish policing and it's really well done. I have a friend on the same police force and I could see him fitting in with these guys without any difficulty.
I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship between Tartan Noir and I :D