The Impossible Dead

Ian Rankin

The Impossible Dead

Malcolm Fox and his team from Internal Affairs 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 nephew's nemesis. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy and cover-up - and a brutal murder, a murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist. The spiralling investigation takes Fox back in time to 1985, a year of turmoil in British political life. Terrorists intent on a split between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom were becoming more brazen and 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 flush them out. 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. 3.3 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
The Impossible Dead

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Format Hardback
Pages 384
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication October 2011
ISBN 978-0752889535
Publisher Orion
 

Malcolm Fox and his team from Internal Affairs 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 nephew's nemesis. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy and cover-up - and a brutal murder, a murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist. The spiralling investigation takes Fox back in time to 1985, a year of turmoil in British political life. Terrorists intent on a split between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom were becoming more brazen and 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 flush them out. 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.

Reviews

The Scotsman

David Stenhouse

The Impossible Dead should put to bed any doubts about Rankin’s new series. Unlike Conan Doyle, Rebus’s creator has shown that he can step out of the shadow of his most famous creation. This is the finest Ian Rankin novel for many years. You won’t miss Rebus once.

18/10/2011

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The Guardian

John O'Connell

... it's obvious The Impossible Dead is a homage to Troy Kennedy Martin's peerless 1985 drama about the anti-nuclear movement. Edge of Darkness was portentous but plausible, only going off the rails in the final episode when it decided to turn into a Bond film. Frustratingly, The Impossible Dead makes the same mistake, squandering its amassed gravitas with a tidy but frankly Scooby Doo ending. Until then, though, it's excellent ... So doubters be damned: The Impossible Dead is taut, compulsive and hugely satisfying, with plenty to say about the limits of memory and the dangers of historical idealism.

29/10/2011

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The Observer

Alison Flood

This is Rankin, so it's only to be expected that the plotting should be tight, the dialogue quick-fire, the crimes disturbingly believable, taking place as they do in a world that is so thoroughly and obviously our own, today. What the creator of Rebus also gives us in Fox — initially in the inspector's first outing, The Complaints, and again here — is another complex, driven policeman: difficult, largely miserable and lonely, but utterly real.

21/10/2011

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The Daily Express

David Connett

The simple truth is that Rebus can never be replaced. What Rankin cleverly did was create a new character and place him in scenarios that are similar enough in style and content to invite comparisons while luring readers into pastures new. This is a third outing for Di Fox and there are clear signs that Rankin is confident enough in his own skills to begin to stretch his new leading man’s legs and take him in directions that were beyond the stride of Rebus.

23/10/2011

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The Financial Times

Jake Kerridge

The Impossible Dead is admittedly a fairly low-key tale compared with Fox’s debut, The Complaints (2009) ... As a whodunit, this new volume is rather laboriously constructed (only fans of 1970s comedy series will spot the major clue to the villain’s identity) and Rankin’s political commentary, usually so sharp, is perfunctory. What is most memorable here is the storyline about the deterioration of Fox’s father, handled so sensitively as to make Henning Mankell’s depiction of the decline of Wallander’s father seem histrionic.

21/10/2011

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The Times

Marcel Berlins

Fox, a lonely figure with a dying father, may require another book or two to emerge fully as an interesting and sympathetic readers’ favourite, but post-Rebus Rankin has lost none of his mastery of excitingly gripping storytelling.

22/10/2011

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The Sunday Times

Joan Smith

Fox is a less rumbustious but more likeable character than Rebus ... If Rankin’s fiction has a flaw, it’s a tendency towards baroque plots and improbable conspiracies. Here, it seems far-fetched that so many important people have successfully concealed secret pasts for a quarter of a century. But Fox remains a worthy successor to Rebus, retaining his outsider status and incorruptibility but operating in a much more modern context.

23/10/2011

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The Evening Standard

Mark Sanderson

Confused? You're meant to be. Gripped? Alas, you're not likely to be. Coming from anyone other than a superstar author such as Ian Rankin, The Impossible Dead would be promising rather than disappointing. No one writes dialogue that seethes with conflict as well as him. His sense of place - even in holes such as Kirkcaldy - lends authenticity to an overcomplicated plot. The trouble is Malcolm and his crew are always being given the runaround by their self-righteous colleagues and this rapidly becomes as tiresome for the reader as it is for them. The result, including a last-minute shootout in the woods, is simply dull.

20/10/2011

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