After his wife's betrayal and his own retirement from the force, Detective Inspector Elder has fled as far as possible to go in England without running out of land. But he is haunted by the past and in particular by the unsolved disappearance of sixteen-year-old Susan Blacklock back in 1988. Shane Donald and Alan McKeirnan, convicted just one year later for the brutal rape and murder of a young girl, remain the prime suspects in Elder's mind, and when he hears of Shane's early release from prison, he feels compelled to leave his safe haven and to revisit the scene of the crime. When Shane breaks parole and disappears and yet another young girl is horribly murdered, Elder's involvement becomes crucial. McKiernan seems to still wield a frightening power over his ex-partner even from his prison cell, and the new murder bears all the hallmarks of their earlier crime. Taunted by postcards from the killer, an increasingly desperate Elder battles his own demons as he and his family are inexorably drawn into the very heart of the crime in this breakthrough novel from John Harvey, winner of the first-ever Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British author.