Robert Stern is a respectable defence lawyer. Although he presents a professional image to the world his personal life has been a mess since the death of his two-day old son Felix. His marriage is over, his relationship with his father troublesome and in consequence he is a shell of his former self.
Robert’s life, however, is about to be turned upside down by a 10 year old boy named Simon with an inoperable brain tumour. The boy arrives in Robert’s life in the back of an ambulance at break-neck speed with lights flashing, driven by his nurse, to meet Robert in a derelict industrial site on the outskirts of Berlin. The nurse, Carina, has only told Robert that she has a new client for him. The shock Robert feels when introduced to Simon is compounded when the boy says that he is a murderer and the murder took place fifteen years earlier. When the information proves to be correct, the question is how could Simon know the details? Is it possible some regression treatment for the tumour has triggered something?
Arriving home after this meeting, Robert finds a DVD waiting for him claiming if he doesn’t take Simon’s case he will never know the truth about his son’s death. From this point Robert cannot escape from the turmoil of emotions that have been aroused and he is little prepared for the roller-coaster of events that are about to engulf him.
Apart from Carina, Robert finds that he has to engage the help of Borchert, a criminal he had successfully defended, to help him find his way through the maze of clues and misdirection being supplied by the mysterious person behind the DVD. His desire to find the truth about his son at times seems at odds with his need to fulfil his promise to Simon. Can he succeed with both without endangering Simon?
To disclose more of the plot would be a great disservice to this taut storyline. What starts as a book about Robert becomes as much of a book about Simon. This isn’t a book for delicate sensibilities or the fainthearted, it deals with some dark and disturbing themes as Robert tries to get into the truth but it is well worth the read and overcoming any distaste. It is a gripping read which I almost finished in one sitting, however a pause was needed to draw breath and process the twists and turns of the plot.