The Complaints

The Complaints is a novel by Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin. It was published in the United Kingdom on 3 September 2009.

The Complaints
First edition
AuthorIan Rankin
GenreDetective novel
PublisherOrion Books
Publication date
3 September 2009
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages381 pp
Followed byThe Impossible Dead 

Plot outline

Detective Inspector Malcolm Fox works in the Complaints and Conduct Department of Lothian and Borders Police, members of which are invariably treated with suspicion and hostility by regular police officers. Fox and his team are tasked with investigating Detective Sergeant Jamie Breck, suspected of being a member of a child pornography ring. However, Breck is in turn investigating the death of Vince Faulkner, who was in an abusive relationship with Fox's sister. This brings Fox into direct contact with Breck, and as he develops both a friendship and a working relationship with him he begins to doubt the validity of his assignment. Despite his personal connection to the case, and against protocol, Fox gets involved in the investigation into Faulkner's death. This brings him into conflict with Breck's superior officer, who harbours a dislike of Fox for investigating a corrupt officer under his command.


Eventually, Fox and Breck are both suspended and Fox himself is placed under investigation. However, they continue to investigate Faulkner's death, discovering that he had links to a bankrupt property developer who appears to have committed suicide. This leads to further links to members of the criminal underworld, and in turn to a senior member of the police force, who is found to be responsible for having Breck framed and for having Fox placed under investigation.


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