Increasingly—though still in his 40s—Detective Inspector John Rebus of the Edinburgh police has been sounding the autumnal note. The tenth in his series (The Hanging Garden, 1998, etc.) finds him full in the winter of his discontent. Bleak questions prevail. Will his daughter’s automobile accident leave her permanently crippled? Has his relationship with his lover plummeted past the irretrievable? And what about his job? Has he lost his sense of vocation? One of his colleagues thinks so. “Something in you has gone bad, John,” she tells him. After a stakeout at the Edinburgh zoo, Rebus makes a bad mistake—arrests the wrong man’setting in motion a chain of events that leads to a brutal murder. Now Rebus is face to face with that most searching of all questions, one that early in his career would have been unimaginable: Should he actually quit? But then the pace of events accelerates swiftly. There’s time only to pursue the links between the death he may have caused, a young man’s inexplicable disappearance, and a fellow cop’s apparent suicide. He connects them, of course. And in the process tracks down a particularly vicious murderer whose cleverness and talent for gamesmanship is sufficient to force Rebus to the top of his own game. Rebus in action is Rebus restored. Some lives, he decides—his own, for instance—are best left unexamined. Hard-drinking, hard-living Rebus remains a compelling figure, but in a book this long he gets too much time to pick at himself.