Another excellent crime novel from Rankin, set in late 1998, with the election campaign for the new Scottish Parliament just getting going, and old scores being settled - quite literally a skeleton in a cupboard, or at least a walled-up fireplace - from the failure of the March 1979 referendum (the first time I can remember that event being mentioned in the Rebus series). Rankin is deviating ever further from the standard narrative of solving a crime and bringing the miscrents to justice, and instead painting a gripping picture of a society where justice is not served - at least not formally - and where the real new rulers of Scotland are the criminal elite. A lot of devastating moments in this one, not the least of which is one of Rankin's most compelling portraits of a family of celebrities, in politics and other fields - we've had the occasional politico before, but never moored so intensely to the political changes in Scotland in the 1990s. If these books weren't written so well (and perhaps if I were myself Scottish and felt I had a atronger stake in the situations rankin is describing), I would find his portrait of a morally eroded society very depressing. As it is, I find it pretty compelling.