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Publisher's Summary

Malcolm Fox and his team are back. They've been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague, Detective Paul Carter. Carter has been found guilty of misconduct with his own uncle, also in the force, having proved to be his nemesis. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy - and a brutal murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist.
The spiralling investigation takes Fox back to 1985, a year of turmoil in British political life. Terrorists intent on a split between Scotland and the rest of the UK were becoming more ruthless, sending letter-bombs and poisonous spores to government offices, plotting kidnaps and murder, and trying to stay one step ahead of the spies sent to find them. Fox has a duty to get at the truth, while the body count rises, the clock starts ticking, and he fights for his professional and personal life.
©2011 John Rebus Ltd (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By Terry on 05-09-12

Rankin's back on his game - and it's winner

The first book after Rankin ditched Rebus was simply terrible. Then came "The Complaints" first book in this series. It was good - but not up to the Rebus books. This one is terrific - the man is back and swinging and I'm very pleased. Few mystery writers are as good as Rankin when he's on the top of his form and I was afraid we'd lost him. Happy to say, I'm back enjoying every word. Hooray for mystery readers everywhere!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By ch on 11-23-11

Overall good story with some contrivance

This is basically a good plot except for one flaw: Why IS Malcolm Fox investigating this case? There is the most tenuous link between his job and the investigation that he is pursuing, and I don't think too many police departments would stand for that.

The reader does a fine job.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By GC on 10-15-11

Brilliant Successor to Rebus

DI Malcolm Fox is a member of 'the Complaints' - what the Americans call 'the Rat Squad' - investigating police misbehaviour in Edinburgh and its environs.

In this story, he and his team are called in to interview the colleagues of a bent cop in Kirkcaldy, but very soon there are murders (both new and old) to be investigated.

Although this is only the second in the series, I think Ian Rankin has come up with a worthy successor to Rebus. Fox is a recovering alcoholic (what fictional policeman isn't?) with both domestic (but not the usual) and work related problems which cleverly interact with his investigations. He is a realistic and sympathetic character and it is also interesting that the 'good' cop - the one the reader identifies with - is regarded by many of his colleagues as 'bad'.

Both books in the series are expertly narrated by Peter Forbes.beta inappVoteInfo

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful


By Mr. J. Crowson on 10-31-11

A converted Rankin fan

Chose this because of the special offer but so glad I did. The plot was a very absorbing one, and I was taken with the light it threw on the police operations; this is my first Rankin novel as detective novels are not usually my book of choice. The narrator was first class, and I liked the differences he achieved in both the voices of the main characters and their particular Scottish accents. The interplay between the three main cops was particularly enjoyable and amusing. I think there's another Inspector Fox story available and look forward to listening to this.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Kirsten Forrester on 09-15-17

Twists and turns

I loved the character Fox and his two side kicks. I especially love the narrator. He is my favourite. I follow him from audible to audible like a puppy.

This story has a quiet ebb and flow. Fox is an interesting character, not the most charismatic but I liked him. I've just ordered more Ian Rankin to listen to but not with my narrator. 😩

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By Jacqui on 06-29-16

Hopefully the start of a New Series !

What made the experience of listening to The Impossible Dead the most enjoyable?

It was nice to see policing from the perspective of "The Complaints" team.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Impossible Dead?

I really enjoyed the scene in the cottage at the connection there seemed to be between Fox and the older Carter.

What does Peter Forbes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narrator, Peter Forbes is just fabulous. Brings a professionalism to the narration not enjoyed in the Rebus series. Subtle and "real" expression in his voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, time permitting I would have done just that.

Any additional comments?

Lets hope this is a new teaming between Rankin and Forbes.

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