A horrific shooting incident at a private school just north of Edinburgh: two seventeen-year-olds killed by an ex-Army loner who has gone off the rails. A man who finally turns the gun on himself. As Detective Inspector John Rebus puts it, ‘there’s no mystery’.......except the why. But this question takes Rebus into the heart of a shattered community. Ex-Army himself, Rebus becomes fascinated by the killer, and finds he is not alone.Military investigators are on the scene, and won’t be shaken off. The man had friends and enemies to spare - ranging from civic leaders to the local Goths - leaving behind a legacy of secrets and lies.
But Rebus faces his own trials too. A petty criminal who has been stalking his friend and colleague, Siobhan Clarke, has been found burnt to death in his own home. And Rebus is fresh out of hospital, hands heavily bandaged.