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The Impossible Dead

The Impossible Dead

Hardback

By (author) Ian Rankin

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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.

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Author information

Ian Rankin is the internationally bestselling author of the Inspector Rebus and Detective Malcolm Fox novels, as well as a string of standalone thrillers. His books have been translated into 36 languages and are bestsellers on several continents. Ian is the recipient of four CWA DAGGER AWARDS and in 2004, won America's celebrated EDGAR AWARD. He is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Hull and Edinburgh and received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons.

Review quote

After the wonderfully gloomy Rebus novels, we now have Ian Rankin's second great sleuth: DI Malcolm Fox, who investigates bent coppers. Here, he's in Fife checking out a possible police cover-up when he unearths an extraordinary story of terrorism in the Kirkcaldy of the 1980s. This is vintage Rankin, a five-star crime novel by an author at the height of his powers. After reading it, you'll never look at the SNP in the same light again' -- A N Wilson READER'S DIGEST This is the second outing for Rankin's Inspector Malcolm Fox, who has the seemingly impossible job of rooting out corrupt colleagues -- Henry Sutton DAILY MIRROR Proving there's life - and murder - after gloomy Rebus, Rankin pops up with a new cop here, DI Fox MAIL ON SUNDAY 'LIVE' confirms Fox as an intriguing character full of depth - and consolidates Rankin's position at the forefront of the crime writing pack -- Doug Johnstone WE LOVE THIS BOOK Criminally good -- Fanny Blake WOMAN AND HOME The plot, pacing and characterisation are all handled with impeccable skill, while Rankin infuses his story with subtle social commentary into the bargain. Fans may still mourn Rebus, but Fox is a worthy replacement BIG ISSUE No one writes dialogue that seethes with conflict as well as him -- Mark Sanderson EVENING STANDARD 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' -- Alison Flood THE OBSERVER What is the 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 -- Jake Kerridge FINANCIAL TIMES Fox remains a worthy successor to Rebus, retaining his outsider status and incorruptibility but operating in a much more modern context -- Joan Smith SUNDAY TIMES Post-Rebus Rankin has lost none of his mastery of excitingly gripping storystelling -- Marcel Berlins THE TIMES masterful thriller that will have you gripped to the very last page CANDIS taut, compulsive and hugely satisfying, with plenty to say about the limits of memory and the dangers of historical idealism. If this is where Rankin is now, I'm not sure I'd want him to be anywhere else -- John O'Connell GUARDIAN Rankin remains the crime writer's crime writer - a clear-headed moralist in a grimy world VOYAGER He offers an account of personal and political alienation, the tactics needed to contain terrorism, and the desirability or otherwise of deceit -- Natasha Cooper TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT Rebus is one of British crime fiction's great creations. With Malcolm Fox, Rankin has the potential to trump even that towering achievement IRISH EXAMINER Fox's second outing is furiously readable and very satifying -- Matt Coward MORNING STAR 20111114 Fox - in so many ways the anti-Rebus - has developed into a fully realised character in his own right, despite the seemingly insurmountable hindrances Rankin has placed on him (in short, he's made a virtue out of slight, decent dullness). Chandler famously described his detective as a "shop-soiled Galahad", and it is fascinating how modern writers are moving away from such blatant mythologising. -- Stuart Kelly THE SCOTSMAN 20111210 This second outing for Rankin's recent incarnation, Malcolm Fox of Professional Standards, opens with an investigation into alleged perjury by detectives at the trial of a fellow officer. However, two sudden deaths lead Fox to investigate the death of a nationalist lawyer in 1985 causing the old and new worlds of Scottish nationalism to collide dangerously. The narrative is well paced, the story developing in unexpected turns with equally unexpected individuals coming under Fox's forensic focus. JOURNAL OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND 20111201 Fox is decent, rule-abiding and teetotal - more or less an anti-Rebus, in many ways, though he operates in the same world as his predecessor. He's developing into an interesting character, not least because of his simple decency -- Andrew Taylor THE SPECTATOR 20111203 Could Ian Rankin ever follow his Rebus success? Happily for his fans, he proves he can SUNDAY EXPRESS 20111211 Last of all, envy stops me from saying more about Ian Rankin's new novel, than that it's impossibly good -- Philip Kerr THE SCOTSMAN 20111203 In the hands of a less accomplished and skilled operator, the resultant plot might feel like an impenetrable Gordian knot. However, the author unravels it inch by inch until it takes on the murky tones of an Edge of Darkness-style political thriller. -- David Connett SUNDAY EXPRESS 20111023 Fox chugs Irn-Bru while tackling tensions both on the force and closer to home. A terrific second outing for Rankin's new policeman protagonist. -- Daneet Steffens TIME OUT 20120105 A seamless blend of the personal and the political, The Impossible Dead is a subversive treatise on modern democracy masquerading as a police procedural, and a thoroughly entertaining thriller to boot IRISH TIMES 20120204 Rebus may be gone, but Ian Rankin still walks confidently among strong passions THE OLDIE 20120201 Another stellar performance by Ian Rankin DEADLY PLEASURES 20120201