After retiring his famous protagonist John Rebus in "The Exit", Mr. Rankin is back in full force by audaciously unveiling a new detective Malcolm Fox, a man with integrity and dogged determination but at times hated and feared by his colleagues.
Malcolm Fox works at the Complaints and Conduct Department in Edinburgh, a section dedicated to sniffing out racism and corruption and other serious internal offenses. He also is a man with his own personal problems: a frail father in a care home and a sister living in an abusive relationship.
The story is paced chronologically chapter by chapter. After Fox and his team compile enough evidence to expose CID Glen Heaton for bending the rules to his own advantage they move on to Jamie Breck suspected of being a member of a pedophile ring. Fox is assigned to covertly forge a relationship with Breck but in doing so an atmosphere of respect and friendship develops...Others wonder if Fox has crossed the line and will he be professionally destroyed along with his prey... Simultaneously, his sister's boyfriend is found murdered and Fox is ordered to stay away from the investigation...but can he?
This is an interesting novel, a fantasized version of how police work and how they police themselves, a story based on morality, ethics, friendship, trust and respect. The characters are totally believable; Fox and Rebus have similar traits, they are committed to their jobs and thrive on complex cases. The plot is brilliant, it is a labyrinth of twists and turns providing endless intrigue, a roller coaster ride till the end. Fox is a refreshing change but I suspect Rebus with all his attributes will reappear at some point in the future
In my view, this novel is the lunch of a new series and I am looking forward to it.