Top positive review
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Foxy comes alive
on 29 October 2011
How many readers approached "The Impossible Dead" with a degree of trepidation? I must confess that I did. I had enjoyed "The Complaints" in which Malcolm Fox had his debut. But it just wasn't Rebus. So I picked up the second in the Fox series wondering if Ian could be persuaded at some point to resurect John Rebus. I even developed a few vehicles he could use for that purpose: a new closure unit in which Rebus comes back to solve cold crimes (the role Michael Connelly has provided for Harry Bosch); or Siobahn Clarke, now promoted in Rebus's stead, enlists his help on a difficult crime requiring his delicate diplomatic skills; and finally he opens his own private detective agency (no I wasn't too enamoured of that one either). However, it does show how desperately I was seeking to get Rebus back into action.
But, by the end of "The Impossible Dead", I wasn't really so concerned to revive Rebus because Malcolm Fox had grown on me page by page. Rebus's absence became less noticeable as the sparkling repartit, usually reserved for Rebus, began to fill the pages. And then there's the storyline, one which Rebus might have killed for. It's Ian Rankin back to his very best pilfering from Scotland's recent political history and placing the complaints officer with a set of issues he can't even begin to anticipate when he is sent to Kirkaldy to consider corruption in the CID there.
So final verdict. Absolutely brilliant. A book which will do for Malcolm Fox just what "Black and Blue" did for Rebus. I feel sure most readers will feel, like me, that Malcolm Fox is now a character in his own right and as such we can mourn less for Rebus. However, that said, If Ian now has a bit of time on his hands I wouldn't gripe at all if he did decide that Rebus warranted another outing. After all I can still hear him in the background complaining, "the wee bastard didn't even have the decency to kill me off properly."