Zatopek (Zet) van Heerden is an ex-cop, a damaged man who describes himself as trash and acts self-destructively. He reluctantly agrees to take on a job for attorney Hope Beneke. Jan Smit, an antiques dealer, has been killed; tortured with a blowtorch then shot in the back of the head. An execution-style murder. The weapon used was an M16, a military gun, favoured by mercenaries. The contents of Smit's safe are missing and that includes his will which is needed to settle his estate. When van Heerden tries to find out more he discovers that Jan Smit had a false ID and sets out to uncover who he was. His investigations lead him into South Africa's murky past and attracts the unwelcome attention of brutal killers. Meyer effectively weaves together the progress of the investigation with van Heerden's account of his life story leading up to the awful events that resulted in his fall from grace and loss of integrity.