Iain M. Banks
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Local journalist Cameron Colley writes articles that are idealistic, from the viewpoint of the underdog. A twisted serial killer seems to have the same MO -- he commits brutal murders on behalf of the underdog. As the two stories begin to merge, Cameron finds himself inextricably and inexplicably implicated by the killer.
When the arms dealer whom Cameron plans to expose is found literally "disarmed" before Cameron can even put pen to paper and the brewery chief, loathed by Cameron, who sold out at the expense of his workers finds himself permanently unemployable, the police become convinced of Cameron's guilt, as do half his friends and colleagues, forcing Cameron to employ all his investigative skills to find the real killer and his motive.
to be. 'Cameron, _what_ am I to do? Just tell me that. Just tell me what on earth anybody's supposed to do with such an impossible man. I swear he's getting worse, he really is. I wish it was just my imagination but it isn't, I swear it isn't. He's getting worse, he really is. It's not me. It's him; I mean, my friends agree. He'll be the -' 'What's the problem, Mum?' I lift a pencil from the desk and start gnawing the end. 'My stupid husband! Haven't you been listening?' 'Yes, but what
father didn't like talking about it much either and used to be slightly dismissive and jokey about it all. Mrs Gould gradually talked less about it. Eventually it seemed it was only I who ever thought about that still, cold morning, recalling in my dreams that cry and that hand held out to me for help I could not, would not give, and the silence that followed Andy disappearing under the ice. And sometimes I felt he was different, and had changed, even though I knew people changed all the time
some fishing or just some pottering around. We climbed the low hills northwest of the loch and lay in the long grass under the pines and the birch, looking out over the small glen to the forested hill on the far side where the old railway tunnel was. Beyond that, over another wooded ridge, unseen and heard only on occasion when the breeze veered from that direction, was the main road north. Further beyond that, the Grampians' southernmost summits rose green and golden-brown into the blue sky.
gently curved plant, some sweet exotic fruit growing into the sunlight. I looked around, hoping there wasn't anybody nearby, watching. We were only visible from the top of the hill where the railway tunnel was, and usually nobody went there. 'You can touch it if you like.' 'I don't know ...' 'Some of the guys in the school touch each other's. It's not the same as being with a girl, of course, but people do it. Better than nothing.' Andy licked his fingers and started to stroke them up and
at Tollcross, snarling traffic up in all directions, take the right-turn lane heading up Home Street, dodge a little old lady on the pedestrian crossing at Bruntsfield and scream down Colinton Road through thinning traffic. The radio gibbers away at us; I lean forward, trying to listen. A patrol car's there at the house; no sign of anybody. My hands are hurting; I look down and see they're clenched tight, tendons standing out on my wrist. I sit back, thrown to one side as we swerve for a car