This is the second book of the John Rebus series. I reviewed the first here. Rebus is awkward socially. Others find him strange, but he gets results.
In this story, he comes across a dead young man in an abandoned and boarded-up house with a needle beside him. It is not his case, but he was in the area. Everyone else there chaulks it up as an overdose, but as Rebus goes through the house, he discovers several things that nag at him; a full bag of Heron, but no empty bag; the clip from a copper’s hat; evidence that the body was moved postmortem; and a partially drawn devil symbol.
Calling in favors, the coroner discovers that the lethal injection was actually rat poison. When Rebus returns to the house, he finds the pentagram is completed, with a short message added. A young girl tells him that her friend, the deceased, was murdered. The more Rebus investigates, the more pushback he receives.
I thought at first that the story was about drug dealing. Then I began to think that it was about homosexuality and the prostitution related to it.
But I was wrong. The dark depths of this story will upset you.
This is a better book than Knots and Crosses, but you will probably be lost for a good part of the read.