The intriguing thing about this novel, is that although it sounds like a mystery or a thriller, it is really a number of stories or plots that are quite skilfully intertwined. Firstly the body of a young Indian woman is washed up, which piques Cal's interest, as he attempts to ascertain where it entered the water, and as a result where she may have originated from. In terms of crime and crime solving, this particular mystery is the moral heart of the story. But as an aside, Cal also finds he is putting his unique skills into use when two severed feet wash up miles apart from one another, and one of the feet actually matches a third foot in a different shoe washed up somewhere. I kid you not, the day after I finished reading this book there was a story on the NZ Herald App from Canada about severed feet, still inside shoes, mysteriously washing up on the coastlines of Canada and the US. Quick, call Cal McGill. Here is the link -http://nzh.tw/11588325 Very very bizarre.
At the same time as all this is going on, Cal finds himself taking steps back into his family's past. An elderly woman is dying and she has some secrets she needs to share with Cal concerning his grandfather during the second world war. Cal always knew there was something not quite right with his family history, and using his specialist knowledge of ocean and wind currents he has the opportunity to put right a terrible wrong.
With the exception of a very small section, the whole novel is set in Scotland, much of it on the Outer Hebrides islands and west coast of Scotland. Cal leads a very solitary existence, this wild untamed environment suiting his temperament, and his slightly subversive nature. For he never lets a chance to annoy the authorities go by. As an environmentalist he has got himself quite off side with the Edinburgh police HQ, an interesting little sub plot that becomes quite crucial in his investigations into where the severed feet and the young Indian woman came from.
If it all sounds a bit quirky and light, it isn't. Far from it. You know from the first page that some pretty awful things are going to be happening. The plot does wander a bit, weaving these various threads together, the tension being slowly turned up as the story gathers pace. Cal is an extraordinary detective, uncovering some very bad things, putting his own life in danger. It is fortunate he ends up with the police on his side because otherwise it may well be his feet that turn up washed onto a deserted stretch of coastline somewhere. So, a great story, well told.