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Complicity by Iain Banks
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Complicity (1993)

by Iain Banks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what are, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others

This book revolves around Cameron Colley an Edinburgh journalist. Colley is not a particularly nice bloke, he smokes too much, drinks too much, takes hard drugs, is addicted to computer games and is cuckolding one of his best friends. He is following a story from a mysterious informer which he believes will lead to a big scoop and keeps him busy running all around Scotland. Simultaneously there is a series of pretty grisly not to mention imaginative murders of people who it could be argued fully deserve to be killed meaning that the reader will not feel overly sympathetic towards the victims. Victims who had been named by Colley in a previous editorial implicating him in the murders. Both Colley and the chief investigator on the case become convinced that the killer is someone close to Colley, As Colley ponders the vigilante's identity we are given revelations about his past and his personality. Thus we get a pretty engrossing thriller.That said it had a few issues for me.

I was able to work out who the murderer was fairly early on although perhaps not his motivation meaning that when his identity was revealed it failed to have any real impact. I found the central character if not likeable at least intriguing. I must admit that I liked the idea of some of the murder victims getting their just deserts which meant that I found the ending rather satisfying. The plot was well devised and I like the idea of an anti-hero. I enjoyed the author's writing style although some of the politics within were not necessarily to my taste. Overall I enjoyed it yet IMHO it lacked that little something that would have made it really special. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jun 7, 2017 |
Book Description Local journalist Cameron Colley writes articles that are idealistic, from the viewpoint of the underdog. A twisted serial killer seems to have the same MO -- he commits brutal murders on behalf of the underdog. As the two stories begin to merge, Cameron finds himself inextricably and inexplicably implicated by the killer. When the arms dealer whom Cameron plans to expose is found literally disarmed" before Cameron can even put pen to paper and the brewery chief, loathed by Cameron, who sold out at the expense of his workers finds himself permanently unemployable, the police become convinced of Cameron's guilt, as do half his friends and colleagues, forcing Cameron to employ all his investigative skills to find the real killer and his motive.

My Review This was my first Iain Banks book. I thought his writing was excellent but if this was suppose to be a murder mystery, I would have to say that it is lacking in that department. I would classify this book as a good character study as the characters were well-drawn but the murderer was quite obvious. I also found the descriptions of the murder and sex scenes a bit over the top. Now you may be asking why I gave him 4 stars. Well, it's his memorable language, great one-liners and his ability to go from past to present so effectively. All in all, a very enjoyable book if you like great writing." ( )
  EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
3 and a half stars. the most interesting thing about this early work, basically a suspense novel though not billed as one, is the evolution in the reader's view of the narrator. at first he seems to epitomize all the excess of the Thatcher era, but very gradually he reveals himself (to himself as much as anyone) as consistently in opposition to its tenets. it's a point of view he's always expressed but never really thought about before in relation to his own life. so gradually he knows himself as complicit in the society around him, on so many levels. and after a while he is also being hunted by the authorities, for a series of brutal murders which express a rejection of the society around him - being framed by someone who sees him on a personal level as complicit in that society. so he has to think it through: his own relationships, his own actions throughout life, in order to figure out who's doing the framing. and even after he gets it, there remains the problem of what to do about his tormentor: whether to turn him in or to be, on a whole different level, complicit. the writing - and the premise - seems a bit heavy-handed in places, especially at the point where the political meets the personal. but it is still an interesting concept, a scathing portrait in miniature of a society dedicated to greed and power, and an interesting read. ( )
1 vote macha | May 20, 2014 |
Iain Banks is by far one of my favorite writers. I started reading his science fiction (published as Iain M. Banks), and after nearly reading all of those and still wanting more, I moved on to his non-science fiction (which can still be pretty science fiction-y).
'Complicity' is the story of two sets of murders, one series having taken place years ago, one series taking place now. Cameron Colley is a journalist in Edinburgh who is getting tips from a mole about the older murders. Meanwhile conservative important people are being gruesomely attacked and/or murdered...
This story was well written with great story lines that come together really well. The main story line deals with (of course) complicity, and where is the line to being complicit or not. I loved how the story was built up. The descriptions of the attacks and murders (many in this book) are pretty detailed and heavy, also because they are written in the second-person view (you do this, you do that) and the rest in the first-person view (of Cameron Colley). A great read, I just love Iain Banks, four out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Jan 28, 2014 |
"Complicity": the clue's in the title. To what extent are we complicit in what happens to us? This is an atmospheric, compelling, intelligent Scottish crime thriller that - like the best genre fiction - also has plenty to say on our messed up world and the human condition. I raced through this satisfying story of how dysfunctional local journalist Cameron Colley may have triggered a series of horrific revenge incidents (murder, torture etc.). The two narrative voices kept this tale tense and interesting as the police conclude that Cameron knows far more than he is letting on. Just how complicit is he? ( )
  nigeyb | Sep 24, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iain Banksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canty,TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mo, JohannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Ellis Sharp
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You hear the car after an hour and a half.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0349105715, Paperback)

COMPLICITY n. 1. the fact of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal act A few spliffs, a spot of mild S&M, phone through the copy for tomorrow's front page, catch up with the latest from your mystery source - could be big, could be very big - in fact, just a regular day at the office for free-wheeling, substance-abusing Cameron Colley, a fully paid-up Gonzo hack on an Edinburgh newspaper. The source is pretty thin, but Cameron senses a scoop and checks out a series of bizarre deaths from a few years ago - only to find that the police are checking out a series of bizarre deaths that are happening right now. And Cameron just might know more about it than he'd care to admit ...Involvement; connection; liability - Complicity is a stunting exploration of the morality of greed, corruption and violence, venturing fearlessly into the darker recesses of human purpose.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:26 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In Scotland, a self-appointed executioner dispenses justice to fit the crime. Thus the lenient judge who let a rapist go is punished by being raped, while a man who killed is killed in turn.

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