A Scottish private eye schleps around enough baggage to furnish a small apartment as he helps a friend search for a missing teenager.
Not a day goes by that Dundee private investigator J. McNee doesn’t remember the beat-down he suffered at the hands of David Burns during the drug lord’s turf war with Gordon Egg (The Good Son, 2009). But life goes on, and now Burns is helping wheelchair-bound journalist Cameron Connolly look into the disappearance of Mary Furst, a bright, artistic high-school student vanished without a trace from her parents’ home. Wouldn’t you know that Mary’s godfather turns out to be the detested Burns—and that the investigation is led by DC Susan Bright, daughter of DCI Ernie Bright, who was McNee’s mentor until the young constable’s career spun out after his wife Elaine was killed in a car crash? Susan counsels McNee to leave it alone, but he can’t, and pretty soon he’s sitting in a café as a bearded giant of a man named Wickes tells him about Deborah Brown, the woman Wickes loves, an art teacher obsessed with the child she gave birth to as a surrogate: Mary Furst. McNee is pretty sure Deborah has Mary, and he’s also pretty sure that there’s something fishy about Wickes’s tale. But between fuming about Burns’s wickedness, reliving his days as Ernie Bright’s protégé and puzzling over his relationship with Susan, McNee barely has time to pee, much less look for the missing pair.
A tawdry tale of he-said/she-said that doesn’t push McNee much past his striking debut.