Synopses & Reviews
A distinguished judge who once extended leniency to a convicted rapist is himself brutally raped. A pornographer who specializes in snuff films is given a paralyzing injection while a video camera captures it on tape. A wealthy businessman whose negligence caused a fatal explosion is blown up in his own home.
This series of savage, "punishment-fits-the-crime" assaults carried out by a self-styled avenger seems to implicate Cameron Colley, a latter-day Gonzo journalist who tries to put as much cheerful subversion into his dispatches for an Edinburgh-based newspaper as he can get away with. Detained by the police as a suspect, Cameron protests that he's being set up, but he cannot hide a certain complicit admiration for the avenger's violent justice. And Cameron knows the only way to get the cops off his back is to lead them to the vigilante himself a good plan until it becomes clear that the culprit is uncomfortably close to home.
Framing a chilling tale of murder and revenge with larger themes of crime and punishment, this brilliantly constructed thriller invites us to share Cameron's thrill as society's sheltered demons get their comeuppance.
"Banks's handling of this volatile scenario is extremely graphic, sadistic and rather obvious, though effective. He's a good enough writer to seduce readers into sharing not only Colley's admiration for the killer but also, through his use of the second person, the killer's relish in the act of murder: complicity, indeed." Publishers Weekly
"[R]emarkable....Before long, we are mesmerized by Banks' violent and disturbing story....Dark, cynical, shocking, but immensely satisfying, this one's a must-have." Emily Melton, Booklist
"An engrossing thriller....Certain weaknesses will bother some readers the revelation of the killer's identity seems not to have the dramatic impact that it should, for example but these are overshadowed by the intriguing central character and a cleverly devised plot. Literate and satisfying, with a very nice ending." Kirkus Reviews
"The sort of sophisticated whodunit that keeps you guessing and keeps you thinking....Dizzyingly clever." New York Newsday
"Complicity is Iain Banks's best novel since The Wasp Factory....What gives Complicity its sharp edge is less its contrived shocks than the way in which the novel constantly makes as if to flout the libel laws of 1993 as comprehensively as The Wasp Factory flouted 1984 taboos on child torture." John Sutherland, London Review of Books
"From the brilliant opening...that lands the reader smack in the middle of the first of a series of cold-blooded murders to the final confrontation on a weather-beaten wild island...Complicity is irresistibly compelling." The New York Times Book Review
"Banks's latest crop of atrocities, for all their ingenious methods of despatch, belongs to the splatter travelogue the put-them-away-day school of murder and mayhem....Tantalizingly, the novel also shows what might have been. Banks has a wonderful gift for inventing cyber-swank gadgetry...and off-guard perspective." The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"Literate, passionate, and well-paced, Complicity succeeds as both an absorbing entertainment and a chilling examination of accountability in a morally bankrupt world." San Francisco Chronicle
"Complicity is Banks at his absolute best. It isn't that you can't put this book down; it's that you don't dare put this book down." Donald E. Westlake, author of The Hook and The Ax
n. 1. the fact of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal act
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.
About the Author
Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the original publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, recently selected in a British poll as one of the top 100 novels of the century. Since then he has gained enormous popular and critical acclaim with further works of fiction and, as Iain M. Banks, science fiction. He lives in Scotland.
Table of Contents
1 Independent Deterrent
2 Chill Filter
5 Naked Flame
6 Exocet Deck
7 Lux Europae
8 Friendly Fire
10 Carse of Speld
12 Basra Road
13 Sleep When I'm Dead