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Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth, Scotland.
After five years in exile his presence is required at the funeral of local patriarch Joe Murston, even though the last time Stewart saw the Murstons he was running for his life. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with its five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than sea fog, gangsters, cheap drugs, and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides. And although there's supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town's biggest crime family, it's soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously.
Before long a quick drop into the cold, grey Stoun River begins to look like the easy option, but as he steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, Stewart uncovers ever darker stories, and his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated. Tough, funny, fast-paced, and touching, renowned storyteller Iain Banks poignantly evokes adolescence, love, brotherhood, and vengeance in a rite-of-passage novel unlike any other.
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