DCI Colin Anderson, welcomed back to work 14 months after his last case sent him spiraling into post-traumatic stress disorder, lands a doozy: a nightmare that enmeshes him as tightly as the neighbors he questions in a Glasgow suburb.
Altmore Wood has been notorious ever since Andrew Gyle was convicted 23 years ago of killing his neighbor Sue Melrose and her young sons with an axe. Now the yawning sinkhole that unexpectedly swallows Howard Dirk-Huntley’s Range Rover—a certified disaster on its own for any other neighborhood—reopens the case with a shock when it discloses a set of bones the official story can’t account for. Was someone killed 10 years after the Melroses, while Gyle was locked up, still protesting his innocence, by another party entirely—a tactic not at all out of the question for Ramsay (The Night Hunter, 2014, etc.)? Will this discovery end up vindicating Gyle and, in turn, incriminating other locals—investment banker Douglas Lawson and his wife; doddering alcoholic Lynda McMutrie; Michael and Rachel Broadfoot; elusive gym owner Laura Steele and her husband; or Jock Aird, the gentleman farmer whose family once owned the entire landscape? DI Costello is keeping a close eye on Anderson as they investigate, and well she might, since the case turns out to involve a perfect storm of natural disasters, greedy manipulation of same, and rats. Lots and lots of rats. No wonder Costello, reviewing the evidence after the hyperkinetic finale, finds herself wondering, “Were all relationships toxic?” In Glasgow, they just might be.
Don’t bother looking for the master criminal; the story is awash in malefactors but strong enough to bear their combined weight, which is heavy indeed.