Had it up to here with IRA demands for the English to leave Ireland? Well, here's great news: The Fighters for an Independent Scotland want the English out of Scotland too--and they're ready to back up their demands with bombings, murders, and blackmail threats aimed at wreaking havoc at the Edinburgh Festival of the Arts. But the Fighters haven't reckoned with Assistant Chief Constable Bob Skinner (Skinner's Rules, 1994), head of the Edinburgh CID and security adviser to Secretary of State Alan Ballantyne. Even as craven Ballantyne vows empty defiance of the Fighters, defending his principles with the blood of innocent coppers and bystanders, Skinner assembles a crack task force, carries the ball when the Secretary fumbles on the air, and wrestles with the beast within, who emerges with periodic ferocity to foil a clever, greedy scheme involving AIDS, the crown jewels, and Skinner's own daughter. Jardine seems to have invented his own genre, the counterterrorist procedural, in which tension sings nonstop like high-voltage lines, though the plotting spirals madly over the top.