Rebus is juggling four cases trying to nail one killer - who might just lead back to the infamous Bible John. And he's doing it under the scrutiny of an internal inquiry led by a man he has just accused of taking backhanders from Glasgow's Mr Big. As if this wasn't enough, there are TV cameras at his back investigating a miscarriage of justice, making Rebus a criminal in the eyes of a million or more viewers. Just one mistake is likely to mean an unpleasant and not particularly speedy death or, worse still, losing his job.
"I'm a peeper, he thought, a voyeur. All cops are. But he knew he was more than that: he liked to get involved in the lives around him. He had a need to know which went beyond voyeurism. It was a drug. And the thing was, when he had all this knowledge, he then had to use booze to blank it out..." In his ninth outing, Edinburgh's glowering and tenacious Inspector John Rebus finds a unique way of cutting back on alcohol. Convinced that Rebus might lie or try to destroy evidence in the reopened case of a man convicted of a murder he probably didn't commit, the investigating officer assigns him a babysitter. Luckily, the minder is one of Rebus's old mentors, Jack Morton, a former drinking buddy now waging a successful battle against the bottle. Rebus and Morton burn off energy and anger repainting Rebus's apartment, while trying to clear Rebus's name and exploring the connection between a recent string of murders and a real-life Scottish serial killer of the 1970s known as Bible John. The cases take Rebus to Aberdeen and an oil platform in the North Atlantic, but as usual the main action happens within the mind and soul of Rankin's meticulously crafted creation. Previous entries in the memorable Rebus series are also available, including Let It Bleed, Hide and Seek, Knots and Crosses, Mortal Causes, and Tooth and Nail.