The story opens with crowd including retired detective and PI, Jackson Brodie witnessing a minor fender bender in downtown Edinburgh traffic during an arts festival. The situation accelerated into a serious dose of road rage when the driver “Paul Bradley” finds himself being bashed by the Honda’s bat-wielding driver. Quick action by the normally timid mystery writer, Martin Canning saves “Paul” from having his head split open while setting himself up for a real life mystery when his houseguest is found dead. Traveling incognito, “Paul” has plenty of secrets he would just as soon not have come to light so finding himself in the midst of an accident is more then just a little inconvenient. Aging housewife Gloria Hatter has a longstanding plan to escape an unsatisfactory marriage to her unscrupulous husband who’s phony land deals are on the verge of catching up with him, too bad he’s now in a coma.
Meantime Brodie stumbles upon and loses the corpse of a young woman washed up on the rocky coast, it’s no wonder the investigating officer doesn’t believe his account when search and rescue teams fail to locate a body. Brodie’s troubles increase as he begins to question the direction his life and relationships have taken since inheriting $1 million from a client. What is certain, none of these and several other characters could possibly have foreseen how their lives would become intertwined in this occasionally disoriented yet vibrant tale of double dealing and paybacks.
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