Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

Malcolm Fox never expects to be liked.  As a member of the Professional Standards Unit of the police, more commonly called The Complaints, it's his job to investigate other policemen in the Scottish police force to uncover corruption.  But that means he comes into every case with a big boulder of suspicion and distaste to overcome.

He is brought into his new case to investigate the other members of a police force suspected of helping Paul Carter, who is accused of using his position to coerce sexual favors from women.  In the course of his team's investigation, Fox interviews the suspect's uncle, Alan Carter, a former policeman who now runs a security investigation.  Carter is working on a case that has roots going back twenty years ago to an unsettled time in Scottish history.  There were various terrorist separatist organizations and the rising star of one of them was killed nearby in a wreck.  Carter has been hired to see if that long-ago wreck was the result of an accident or whether it was murder.  Fox becomes embroiled in that case as well as the one on which his team is working when Alan Carter is killed, Paul is suspected and then also killed.

As Fox investigates the two murders he is drawn back into the secrets of the past and those who want those secrets to remain buried.  In the meantime, his personal life is complicated by the declining health of his father and between the two situations, he is torn yet persistent.  His dogged perseverance makes him unpopular but good at what he does.

Ian Rankin is one of the top mystery writers in Scotland.  His long series about Inspector John Rebus is one of the most successful.  He gives an accurate recounting of police procedures and the way that secrets can rise again years later.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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