The impossible has happened: Jack Taylor is living clean and dating a mature woman. Rumour suggests he is even attending mass.
The accidental deaths of two students appear random, tragic events, except that in each case a copy of a book by John Millington Synge is found beneath the body. Jack begins to believe that "The Dramatist", a calculating killer, is out there, enticing him to play. As the case twists and turns, Jack's refuge, the city of Galway, now demands he sacrifice the only love he's maintained, and while Iraq burns, he seems a step away from the abyss.