Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Radio review of Rankin's THE COMPLAINTS

This morning, as part of its daily book review slot on the Nine to Noon programme, Radio New Zealand addressed Ian Rankin's much-awaited post-Rebus novel THE COMPLAINTS.

One of the great things about the Nine to Noon show, hosted by Kathryn Ryan - who also regularly does interviews with New Zealand and visiting authors, is that they do semi-regularly cover some crime and thriller titles.

Today the reviewer was fellow blogger Graham "Bookman" Beattie, who is (deservedly) highly-regarded in the New Zealand book industry. He is the former head of Penguin Books, a Book Awards judge, and a Books Editor.

"It seems to me that only an extremely confident author would retire a character they had taken 20 years to develop", says Beattie of the Rankin novel that introduces a new central character, Inspector Malcolm Fox of the Lothian police complaints and conduct department.
But despite the changes, and early thoughts that the protagonist was fairly dull (possibly on purpose), Beattie warmed to the book, concluding that "While Ian Rankin has given us a new detective in THE COMPLAINTS one thing remains constant, he is still one of the very best writers in the crime fiction world."

You can listen to Beattie's full review of THE COMPLAINTS here, or you can read the text of the radio review here (you might have to scroll down). I understand that tomorrow's Nine to Noon book review will also be a crime novel - Peter Temple's latest.

Have any of you read THE COMPLAINTS? What do you think? Have you read lots of the Rebus novels? Who are some of your favourite ongoing detectives?


  1. Thanks for this, Craig. It'll truly be interesting to see what happens with this new series. I know that Alexander McCall Smith has had a great deal of success introducing more than one detective/series. We'll see if Rankin does, too...

  2. I guess Christie successfully had Marple and Poirot (although those series ran side-by-side). James Patterson has had great commercial success with his Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series (not that I'm holding those up as an example of top quality crime writing).

    Not sure how many situations of such a long-standing character being 'retired' and then a new series character starting (rather than running alongside - e.g. Craig Russell introducing Lennox, but continuing with Fabel as well, James Lee Burke continuing Robicheaux while introducing Holland and others, Robert B. Parker having the ongoing Spenser series, while also flirting with a few Jesse Stone books etc).

  3. That's exactly what I was thinking, Craig - I don't know how many examples there are of authors who retire/finish with one series and then start another. Interesting question..... You've given great examples of series that run "alongside" one another, though. There are also authors that run their series alongside standalones: Ruth Rendell, Rita Mae Brown and Janet Evanovich have done that.

  4. A few of my favorite ongoing detectives--

    PD James: Cmdr Dalgliesch
    Ingrid Black: Saxon
    Giles Blunt: Det. John Cardinal
    Karin Fossom: Inspector Sejr
    Charles Todd: Inspector Rutledge
    Camilleri: Inspector Montalbano
    Eliot Pattison: Shan Tao Yun