Detective John Rebus may be retired but that hasnít kept him from work, only now it is in a civilian capacity working with the Cold Case Unit at his old police force. Shortly after Rebus began working the cases, he was approached by a mother searching for answers regarding her daughterís disappearance over a decade earlier. While Rebus could disregard one old disappearance, the woman started him thinking when she showed him a whole series of women had vanished from a highway in rural Scotland. Thus begins Rebusís investigation of a serial killer while his immediate supervisor Daniel Cowen, resentful of being in charge of what he considers old has-beens, offers little support. No longer carrying a badge doesnít deter Rebus from pursuing justice any more then Malcolm Foxís efforts as head of the Ethics and Standards division to see the old detective convicted of being dirty and on the take.
It is a delight to see Rebus has not been slowed down by a minor little detail like retirement. As Rebus presses his trusty old Saab into service driving around Scotland, Siobhan Clarke attempts to minimize tensions between him and his coworkers while reevaluating her relationship with John. The interaction between Fox and Rebus serves to graphically emphasize their differences as Fox appears cold and rigid while Rebus definitely comes off as more warm and human. It is nice to see tie-ins with favorite old characters and although the music references remain, they were reduced to a more comfortable level. While readers will identify the killer early on, that does not detract from the finely tuned story that will leave fans hoping Rebus takes advantage of that retirement age extension.