The fifth novel featuring Inspector John Rebus, available for the first time as an e-book and with an exclusive introduction by author Ian Rankin. When the Central Hotel, a place of decidedly unsavory reputation, burned to the ground in a mysterious fire, the Edinburgh police were unable to disguise their delight. That is, until a body was found in the still-smoldering ashes, charred beyond all identification but with a bullet lodged in its skull. Now it's five years later and Inspector John Rebus is following any leads in a vicious off-duty ambush that has put one of his favorite junior officers into a coma. A cheap black notebook belonging to the wounded policeman contains a cryptic allusion to the almost-forgotten blaze, but crucial pieces of the puzzle obstinately refuse to fall into place. What could young Detective Sergeant Brian Holmes have learned to render him such a threat that he must be silenced at all costs? The past is important, Rebus hardly needs to remind himself, yet the secrets he persists in uncovering are buried in layer upon layer of sordid and evil lies.