"Mr. Haldayne has a point, Inspector." Mathieson was sitting down again, in his big Chief Executive chair at the end of the table. Tables without corners were supposed to make everyone equal, but Mathieson's chair was a leather throne. He looked and sounded completely unruffled by events thus far, while Rebus felt his head would explode.
Hundreds of jobs . . . spin-offs . . . happy, smiling faces. People like Salty Dougary, pride restored, given another chance. Did Rebus have the gall to think he could pronounce sentence on the future of people like that? People who wouldn't care who got away with what, so long as they had a paycheck at the end of the month?
Gillespie had died, but Rebus knew these men hadn't killed him, not directly. At the same time he hated them, hated their confidence and their indifference, hated their certainty that what they did was "for the good." They knew the way the world worked; they knew who - or, rather, what - was in charge. It wasn't anyone stupid enough to place themselves in the front line. It was secret quiet men who got on with their work the world over, bribing where necessary, breaking the rules, but quietly, in the name of progress, in the name of the system.
Shug McAnally was dead, but no one was grieving: Tresa was spending his money, and having a good time with Maisie Finch. Audrey Gillespie, too, might start enjoying life for the first time in years, maybe with her lover. A man had died - cruelly and in terror - but he was all there was on Rebus's side of the balance sheet. And on the other . . . everything else.