December 2023
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With Rebus Gone, What Next For Ian Rankin?

Hey Mairiuna, hope you don’t mind if I talk again today about our favorite crime writer, Ian Rankin. I’m just kidding, as i know you will be thrilled to read about the subsequent books that were published after the “Rebus finale“.

Exit Music - Inspector Rebus Series - Ian Rankin

Exit Music - Last Inspector Rebus series - Ian Rankin

Upon the publishing of his final book featuring Detective Inspector John Rebus, Exit Music, Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin created a suspense as to what was coming next, after Rebus was gone, and he kept options open about where he would go from there…


We miss you Rebus…

As it became official that loyal readers would be deprived of their beloved and charismatic Detective Rebus due to  “real time” ageing given to him by the author, many fans thought Ian Rankin would come back with a new crime thriller series featuring Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke as the main character, since she was younger than Rebus and perfectly capable of pulling her way with this major role.

But when Ian Rankin announced that he had the intention of reworking a heist thriller short story that he had originally wrote for the New York Times Magazine (2007) called Doors Open, the fans were even more curious!

Ian Rankin Doors Open Orion paperback

Ian Rankin - Doors Open - Orion Paperback - August 2009

Here’s an excerpt of  The Scotsman‘s book review:


Instead of the protagonist being a policeman, in Doors Open the central characters are wannabe criminals. Mike Mackenzie, a bored and wealthy software mogul, Allan Cruikshank, a financial adviser tired of being a grey man, and an irascible art professor, Robert Gissing, on the eve of his retirement from Edinburgh College of Art, cook up a scheme to “liberate” various paintings from the National Collection’s “overspill” warehouse in Granton.
They are all art-lovers, and are all suffering from anomie. Gissing resents the fact that great works are kept hidden away, Cruikshank wants a masterpiece of his own to give him emotional purchase over his philistine clients, and Mackenzie hankers after a portrait that reminds him of an attractive auctioneer, and some excitement.
But pulling off the robbery slowly embroils them in a far seedier world. Their idea is to replace the paintings with fakes, so they recruit a chip-on-the-shoulder art student called Westie, who specialises in reproductions with hidden anachronisms (a plastic bag in the corner of a Constable, a black eye on the Skating Minister). They also need muscle, replica guns, a getaway van – and fortuitously, Mackenzie has run into an old school acquaintance, Edinburgh gangster Chib Calloway.
Doors Open has more in common with Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr novels or Donald Westlake’s John Dortmunder series, and Rankin name-drops both Ocean’s Eleven and The Lavender Hill Mob. The balance between comedy and “real” crime is held fairly well, and the ending satisfies well enough – although I had just an inkling that Rankin was holding back, and striving to unite the Rebus-style “justice” ending with his more radically amoral cast. Rankin has some fun with Chib Calloway’s love of Vettriano, which horrifies the art-lovers, and might even reflect a certain prominent crime novelist’s frustration at the “snooty” critics.
Perhaps it’s a fossil remnant of the serial form, but some of the cadenzas on Edinburgh – the differences between the Old Town and the New, a mention of Jekyll and Hyde, the Trainspotting Tour in gentrified Leith – would probably appeal more to a first-time Rankin reader. Edinburgh, in a way, is the real villain of the piece – a city so small that no one can play six degrees of separation.
In how quickly a network of coincidences, meetings and acquaintances can be uncovered, it’s closer to the St Mary Mead of Miss Marple than the sprawling metropolises of Ellroy, Lee Burke or McBain.
But none of that detracts from the pleasure of the novel.
Rankin’s virtues of pace, cynicism, detail and neat plotting get the added benefit of some sharp humour and sardonic social observation. It can only whet the appetite for what Rankin really does next. (…)
What did he do next ?
Read on…

Ian Rankin The Complaints -Malcom Fox -Orion Paperback

Ian Rankin The Complaints - #1 Malcom Fox - Orion Paperback

On September 3rd 2009 the long awaited thriller is finally  released =>  “The Complaints”  🙂

And the main character is… guess who?

A new comer, Detective Malcom Fox !

He works in the Complaints Department of Lothian and Borders Police and investigate on fellow cops.

Well..well..well…a spy job. 😉

Video - Ian Rankin - The Complaints - malcom Fox
Click on the photo to watch the video!

Having not yet read the book,  I went to Amazon to read customer reviews about The Complaints and choosed one to share with you. It seems to express the majority’s view:

Meet the New Cop – just like the Old Cop…, 9 Sep 2009

A dilemma: Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Iain Banks – three outstanding Scottish novelists all with a new novel out on the same day – which do I read first? Well, I bought all three before finally opting for the Rankin. All I can say is I hope Val’s and Banksy’s new works are of the same standard as `The Complaints’.

It’s good to see Ian back with a `serious’ novel set (mostly) in Edinburgh after last year’s fairly lightweight offering `Doors Open’. Many fans hated this book, others LOVED it. I found it a decent read myself, but it hardly had the gravitas of the Rebus books. It wasn’t meant to.

`The Complaints’ however is a different kettle of fish.

Set in February 2009 in a credit crunch-hit Edinburgh of plunging land and property prices, it features Malcolm `Foxy’ Fox who heads up a team working for the Complaints Conduct Department. They’re known as `the Dark Side’ and investigate other policemen suspected of `dirty’ deeds and actions. Fox is asked to investigate Jamie Breck, a fellow officer whose credit card details have been registered on a paedophile website. But is everything as it seems? Simultaneously, his sister’s boyfriend is found murdered, and Fox is told he’s got no part in the investigation…

Fox forms an alliance of sorts with Breck and is soon plunged into events where he doesn’t know who he can and cannot trust.

In tackling topical issues, Rankin weaves a labyrinthine plot, that twists and turns like a twisty, turny thing. He resolves everything brilliantly and I for one didn’t see more than half of what was coming.

Malcolm Fox, it has to be said, initially resembles John Rebus, but only superficially: he’s a middle-aged man, living on his own, without a woman. It’s only later when he starts bending the rules and dispensing the odd kicking that the reader realises the resemblance to Rebus is MORE than just superficial! Unlike John however he abstains from the bottle (although he’s not adverse to going into pubs), doesn’t appear to have a Rolling Stones album in his music collection, and isn’t `owned’ by a cat! And to be fair, he’s not quite as abrasive as the older man.

We’ve all conjectured as to what Ian would do after Rebus’s retirement from the force. Would he give Siobhan Clarke her own series, or perhaps follow Rebus into civilian life – possibly setting him up as a PI? I don’t know at the time of writing whether this is a standalone novel or if he intends developing it as a series. I sincerely hope it’s the latter as I’m anxious to meet Malcolm Fox and his team again. I found this book to be a top-notch heavyweight offering, and an extremely enjoyable read.


Two of the characters in the book – Tony Kaye and Mark Kelly – share their names with, respectively, the original and current (long-term) keyboard players with prog bands Yes and Marillion. Given that Rankin is a drinking buddy of original Marillion singer Fish, and is a fan of rock music, does anyone know if this is a deliberate in-joke?

G.J. Oxley “Gaz”, Tyne & Wear, England


I’m gonna grab a cup of coffee, log on to Amazon and get that book!

If you have read it already, do comment below as we would be delighted to hear what you think about it.

Until next, all the best.

Talk soon !



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