Five years ago, a mysterious fire burned Edinburgh’s seedy Central Hotel to ashes. Long-forgotten and unsolved, the case reappears when a charred body - with a bullet in its head - is found among the ruins. Inspector John Rebus knows that his superiors would prefer he leave things alone. He knows that part of the answer lies somewhere in a cryptic black notebook. And he knows that to solve the case, he’ll have to peel back layer after layer of unspeakable secrets in order to arrive at the truth.