One psychopath. One killer. The Stabber. Six victims, all wife beaters. Each stabbed to death through their left eye. Six victims, all wife beaters. Each stabbed to death through their left eye. The cobbled lanes and backstreets of St Andrews provide the setting for these brutal killings.
When a three-year old girl is reported missing, DCI Andy Gilchrist is assigned the case. But Gilchrist soon suspects that the child's mother - Andrea Davis - may be responsible for her daughter's disappearance or, worse, her murder. The case becomes politically sensitive when Gilchrist learns that Andrea is the daughter of Dougal Davis, a former MSP who was forced to resign from Scottish Parliament after being accused of physically abusing his third wife.
When the body of Thomas Magner's business partner is found dead in his car on the outskirts of Anstruther, all evidence points to suicide. And Magner himself, a wealthy property developer, is currently under investigation for a series of alleged rapes from thirty years ago.In total fifteen women are prepared to go to court to testify against Magner but one by one they inexplicably withdraw their complaints until only five remain. With the CPS now reconsidering its case, one of Magner's accusers is killed in a hit-and-run.
When DCI Andy Gilchrist is called to a crime scene to find an amputated hand clutching a note addressed to him, he is pulled into an investigation that will test him to the limit. Soon other single word clues are found along with amputated body parts and the murderer's vengeful message becomes clear as the identity of the next intended victim is revealed.
Will DCI Andy Gilchrist end up like the others - dead, beheaded on a beach? The middle of winter in St Andrews. When a young woman's half-naked body is found on Fife's Coastal Path, frozen and with remnants of a rope manacle around her wrist, DCI Andy Gilchrist is given the case. Gilchrist's investigation uncovers a bloody trail of shootings and executions that lead him to the heart of a trafficking war. Links to Scotland's foremost criminal family, the Home Office, and a killer intent on expanding his territory, pull Gilchrist deeper into this murderous web until he comes face to face with the most dangerous man he has ever met.