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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This makes The Wasp Factory look like Pingu...
Anyone who has experienced an Iain Banks novel knows what kind of territory we are entering into long before those first few vital sentences grab us like the piercing jaws of hell; refusing to let us go until that final, writhing moment, when the clues (and the body count) add up, and the world of the story comes tumbling in on it's self in a spectacularly, jaw-dropping...
Published on 6 July 2004 by Jonathan James Romley

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful torture Scene
How this descriptive writing can appeal beggars belief but the author is very skilled at it.and it might please some.
Published 11 months ago by kenneth derrick


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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This makes The Wasp Factory look like Pingu..., 6 July 2004
Anyone who has experienced an Iain Banks novel knows what kind of territory we are entering into long before those first few vital sentences grab us like the piercing jaws of hell; refusing to let us go until that final, writhing moment, when the clues (and the body count) add up, and the world of the story comes tumbling in on it's self in a spectacularly, jaw-dropping fashion. The worlds he is able to create are bleak... filled with stark elements of reality and the kind of horrors ripped from the headlines. There's humour too, albeit, darker than anything you can image; though it is the snaking, ever-shifting plot, the attention to character, and the terrifying situations we are thrown into that mark out books like The Wasp Factory, The Bridge and this, as the classics they are... which, really, can't help but leave us coming back for more.
Complicity is probably Banks' most disturbing work... giving us a portrait of the everyman thrown into circumstances that go beyond the realms of mere explicitness, as the writer gives us one of his most wince-inducing modern-horrors, coupled with possibly his greatest character, that of self-proclaimed gonzo-journalist Cameron Colley. In Banks' world, Colley is a man fairly content to live his life in the fast-lane... cruising from one-story to the next on a tidal-wave of drugs, drink, video-games & adulterous sex. However, when a series of seemingly random, and increasingly graphic murders and assaults begin to occur throughout the politically-immoral England of the early-nineties, Cameron finds himself hot-on-the trail of an exceedingly stealthy and disturbed serial-killer who may, or may not, be closer than he thinks...
By the end of the book Banks has succeeded in putting his characters through all manner of physical and emotional degradation - as ghosts from the past and (literal) skeletons from the closet begin tumbling out of every available hidey-hole... - thus, the author is now able to shift the focus away from the killer theatrics of the preceding chapters to create an emotional dénouement that looks specifically at notions of constancy and morality. This is a deeply atmospheric work, with Banks alternating between the passive narrative voice in order to set-up situations that act as a self-aware red herring for the reader. As others have mentioned... this isn't a book for the faint-hearted, or those easily offended. Banks cuts right to the point with all the guile and precision of knife-wielding mad man, but is able to lift his story out of the mire of pulp-exploitation through the use of inventive scenarios, 3D characterisations and an undeniable way with words.
Complicity is one of those great books that draw you in from the first page and never let you go... leading everywhere and nowhere simultaneously, whilst leaving you gasping with anticipation to find out just what will happen next. It's the kind of book you'll complete after a couple of days... emerging from the winding, writhing narrative, shocked by the horrors you have witnessed, but, at the same time, desperate to go back and re-analyse those all important clues.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificently twisted, 29 Aug. 2006
By 
J.R.Hartley (NW England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Let's see, we have journalism, sex, computer games, sex, mysterious phone calls, kinky sex and murders... lots of them. Yep, must be another Iain Banks classic. I've read half a dozen Banks books now and the last two (Song Of Stone and Walking On Glass) left me feeling a bit wanting as I hadn't enjoyed them as much as some of the others, so I approached Complicity with mixed feelings. I'm pleased to say all misgivings were banished by the time I'd finished the second page and from then on I was sucked in to this darkly twisted tale.

I'll not give any of the plot away but safe to say it has the usual splashes of sardonic humour, great characterisation, whimsical anecdotes and extreme violence that you would associate with an Iain Banks book. Some readers might find the violence a bit excessive (one of my female friends admitted to reading through her fingers) but it is essential to the plot and as the victims were not exactly blameless people you kind of acquiesce to it and maybe that's the idea: it's not merely the complicity of the central character to the crimes, but also the tacit consent of the reader.

Anyway, give yourself a treat and give this very modest 310 page thriller a whirl. Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud, get your pulse going, make you squirm and, best of all, keep you guessing. If buying for another person, make sure he/she is a broad-minded sort.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Involvement, Connection, Liability, 23 Jun. 2007
Iain Banks was born in Scotland in 1954 and published his first book - "The Wasp Factory" - in 1984. In the years since, he's won critical acclaim, topped best-seller lists and has even written Science Fiction books under the cunning nom-de-plume 'Iain M. Banks'. "Complicity" was first published in 1993, and is his seventh non sci-fi book.

Cameron Colley is a journalist based in Edinburgh. working for "The Caledonian". He has an eye for trouble, and enjoys using his articles to take pot-shots at the 'establishment' and big business. His past-times include alcohol, drugs and a computer game called "Despot" - one which sounds very similar to Civ II. Cameron's social circle seems quite small - there's William and Yvonne, a couple he met at university. The pair are married, though Cameron has no qualms about enjoying Yvonne (in as kinky a manner as possible) on a very regular basis. There's also Andy, who Cameron has known pretty much all his life. Andy has 'achievment' written all over his past - he was an officer in the Falklands War and was subsequently awarded the DSO. On leaving the army, he went into advertising - where he came up with the BIG campaigns for several global companies. After that, he then opened a chain of very successful shops, became obscenely rich...and then, strangely, dropped out. Andy is now living in a dilapidated old hotel (his own, naturally) in the Highlands - doing little other than drink and drugs, apparently..

Workwise, Cameron is quite possibly on the verge on something big : he has a mole feeding - "Mr Archer" - feeding him about five high-profile deaths within the nuclear and security services. All five victims died within two years of each other and, although all were officially written off as suicides, there have been rumours of something murky about the deaths. Cameron isn't the first to have looked into the story -however, he's hoping Archer's information will lead him somewhere. (If what's he's been told is true, it's quite possible it could lead to to Iraq).

Unfortunately, while Cameron's working on his mole-inspired story, another set of very high-profile individuals are finding themselves being assaulted and / or murdered. The problem, as it turns out, is that all the victims have been lambasted in one of Cameron's articles.

"Complicity" is definitely a book I'd recommend - which is hardly a surprise, given that it's been written by Iain Banks. Banks has a certain way of telling a story I enjoy - the occasional jump back and forward, and the hint of looking at something from a slightly different angle. Most of the book is told by Cameron ("I drive the car up the little single track road leading towards the low hills"), part of the book is also told about the killer. Although it does mean we know who's getting killed and how they're dying, practically nothing is given away about the killers identity. It's even (deliberately) vague about the killer's gender - for example, "you get to the bedside and raise the log over your head". Excellent stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Banks at his most disturbing best, 4 Feb. 2012
By 
J. White - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Finished this book last night whilst being incredibly tired and ill in bed, as I literally couldn't wait any longer. Complicity is up there with Crow Road and Wasp Factory, a gripping and disturbing thriller that really makes you think. I would highly recommend you set aside a weekend and read this outstanding thriller. I would love to see what Hollywood could make out of this great great story.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stomach-churningly compulsive, 21 Jan. 2005
By 
amboline (York, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Cameron Colley is one of the most loathsome heroes ever to grace a crime novel. Fortunately, it's the self-obsessed, substance abusing, kinky sex indulging, life-in-the-fast-lane attitude of this book's narrator which makes "Complicity" an un-put-downable read. Its combination of relentless pace and continual moral ambiguity mean that this is not a book for the faint-hearted. A host of truly gruesome characters meet truly gruesome, stomach churningly violent, deaths. Sordid secrets are revelled in. But like all Iain Banks' best works, the heart of this book is a mystery story so compelling that the book is practically un-put-downable. If you're a Banks fan, in some ways this book is the pinnacle of his cynicism and a brilliant example of his gift for telling a compelling story. If you're a devotee of crime novels, this is the ultimate whodunnit for the fag-end of the 20th century. If you like exploring deep questions of personal and social morality, there's more than enough subtext in this book to keep you philosophising for weeks. My only criticism is the total lack of subtlety. Banks can do subtle, as "The Crow Road" and "Whit" prove. He chose not to in this opus. But I'll let the reader decide whether the book loses by it, or gains.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent Thriller!, 26 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
If you want to read a gripping novel, but something rather more substantial than your John Grisham's etc, then Complicity is the book. Banks has rapidly become my favourite author, and Coplicity is exceptionally well written, most similar in tone, perhaps, to The Wasp Factory but radically different in terms of the plot. Mostly in the present-tense and swapping between first and second-person narratives for reasons that become clear near the end. The lead character is one of the most fully-rounded and convincing who's head I've ever been allowed inside. They're making this into a film at the moment, which probably won't be anything like as good, so I strongly recommend you to buy the book as soon as possible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense, Compelling & Satisfying, 24 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Complicity (Kindle Edition)
This isn't my usual genre but I'm happy to say I eventually found this book more satisfying than I'd initially expected, after reading the first few chapters.

I've bought Crow Road, too, as I haven't yet made my mind up about the author. But, overall, this was a riveting read with a mildly interesting philosophical dilemma thrown in; and it offered a couple of wisdom-nuggets somewhere near the end, which I was thankful for as they gave the story additional value.

I'll pass it on to my partner as he enjoys crime-thrillers. If that's your thing, this is definitely worth reading.

Contains a fairly graphic sex scene that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

4 Stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Banks conversion!, 8 Mar. 2010
By 
Paul Christian "gogolesque" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Complicity (Hardcover)
Being a new reader of Iain Banks, I tried to make the first one I read, one of his most acclaimed books and for good reason. I have just finished the book and enjoyed it immensely. I like Jonathon Coe books and this didn't disappoint as a comparison to some of Coe's wonderfully writhing plots, replete with chicanery, sanguinary acts of violence and dark, macarbre humour. The plot was wonderfully paced and the characters engaging. The violence was gruesome and disturbing at times but never gratuitous, and never violence for the sake of violence, and always with enough black humour to induce a guilty laugh at, what in essence shouldn't really be laughter inducing. If you're new to Banks, as I was, make this the first one!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good indeed!, 2 Mar. 2004
By 
This was my first Iain Banks novel, and remains my favourite. Whilst reviews often state The Crow Road as his best (and it is very good by the way), I just love the anti-hero central character in this one.
The writing is superb, and the pace of the novel is spot on. The story will get you hooked from page one. As a previous review has stated, the use of first person narrative to describe the murders / assaults really puts you slap bang in the middle of the book, and creates an excellent mental atmosphere.
There are some very graphic moments in this book, particularly in the first person sections, but they are not done all "Hollywood" - they are very well crafted and factual - almost without emotion, and this actually adds to the overall effect.
This is a very good book by an outstanding author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Islagiatt, 28 Dec. 2014
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Complicity (Paperback)
After The Wasp Factory much was expected of this author, a book that really blew me away, how could he top that? Well, he couldn’t, of course. I tried The Bridge and wasn’t that impressed. However, I picked Complicity up in a charity shop, and he pleased me once again. Nothing if not prolific, I’ve read Banks without the M, and with it, and I think I prefer him without it. Granted that his genre-busting first book cannot be bettered, he has embraced the thriller several times now, and this one is lively, entertaining, morally challenging and a downright excellent read.

Unpleasant people are being killed in highly unpleasant ways and we don’t find out who the murderer is (not that he murders all of them), until the end. The book exudes some very fine writing. He nails the Thatcher experiment, for example in a particularly strong piece of well characterised semi-journalism:

“Here we are and we’ve had our experiment; there’s been one party, one dominant idea, one fully followed plan, one strong leader – and her grey shadow (John Major I presume) – and it’s all turned to s*** and ashes. Industrial base cut so close to the bone the marrow’s leaking out, the old vaguely socialist inefficiencies replaced with more rabid capitalist ones, power centralised, corruption institutionalised, and a generation created which’ll never have any skills beyond opening a car door with a coat hanger and knowing which solvents give you the best buzz with a plastic bag over your head before you throw up or pass out…”

Not that the average reader will agree with everything – the murder solution is a very bad idea, but all of the ideas are extreme on a continuum, of course. And I found myself giving half a cheer while guiltily knowing that I was desperately, undisputedly wrong to do so. It is rare to find a political and moral stance against that which would wipe out some of the bad people who pretend to lead us right into the traps they have configured especially for us. To cut it short, I’ll just say I liked the sentiments – they gave me a welcome jolt.

This is a very good, very exciting and provoking book. I will definitely look out for more from this excellent writer.
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Complicity
Complicity by Iain Banks
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