Granite City is in the vicinity of Aberdeen, Scotland. The story opens with the body of a three-year-old boy's body being found in a ditch. David Reid had been strangled. Since he had been missing for a time, police were criticized for their investigation taking so long.
Sgt. Logan McRae is just back on the job after being out for a year. He's the kind of man police assign to cases that are delicate or need to be solved quickly. He's ordered to inform the Reid's about their son but when he arrives at their home he finds they are in distress at having already been called by the press.
McRae works for a controlling, authoritative supervisor. Det. Inspector Insch is a large, bald man who McRae thinks "...looks like a well-dressed Buddha. Only not so friendly." Insch also has a hobby of doing ptomaine on the stage while off duty and encouraging members of his department to be sure to purchase tickets.
Another body is found. this time it's a five-year-old girl. She was killed in a different manner and it looks like there are two child killers at work in this small town.
McRae is eminently believable and is the type of character that the reader comes to like and feel that if it were them, in that situation, that's how they would act.
I look forward to more of the stories of Sgt. Logan McRae in the future.