Book Review – The Impossible Dead – Ian Rankin

This was my first Rankin novel. I had my eyes set for Inspector Rebus series but I met Inspector Fox first. The book was available at a throwaway price at the Delhi Book Fair and I picked it up, having heard of Rankin’s work so much.

The book talks about history and politics in a unique way. The revolutionaries (or terrorists depending on whose side you are) of those times are brought to life and given roles. And then the dots are connected to a murder in the present day. Alan Carter, retired policeman, was found dead while investigating a murder that took place in the 1980s. Mayhem ensues when his own nephew, Paul Carter, is involved. Inspector Fox along with his colleagues Naysmith and Kaye picks the brick wall apart bit by bit.

There are hidden identities and conspiracies to uncover. The plot weaves present day politics with the past beautifully. The plot advances mostly through dialogue. The book has almost too much dialogue. The scenarios are very real. Malcolm Fox himself has an ailing father and an unemployed sister to take care of. There are tiny details that are described beautifully.

The book does not move at a very breakneck pace. There are also no cheap thrills in the form of sudden twists. All the plot developments take time and come organically. I would recommend the book to all serious crime fiction readers.

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