In this novel, Brookmyre takes his fictitious revenge on the kind of British holiday resort which is designed to never confront the holidaymakers with the fact that they've left good, old Britannia.
The resort in question is a converted oil rig, to which its designer, Gavin Hutchison, invites all his old class mates before shipping the monstrosity off to some African coast, so that in the future wealthy Brits can enjoy a warmer climate without otherwise being exposed to anything foreign.
None of said class mates actually remember who Gavin is, but how often do you get a chance to party at a luxury resort if you're a common mortal? And the drinks are free... So most of them show up.
What they're sadly unaware of is that a mysterious bunch of terrorists are also planning their very own kind of party on the rig.
And what the terrorists, in turn, are unaware of is that retired Police Inspector Hector McGregor is on to them.
This work has examples of the following tropes:
- Class Reunion: The entire premise of the book.
- Continuity Nod: McGregor from Quite Ugly One Morning, not all that restfully retired.
- Dirty Coward: Gavin puts himself ahead of everyone else which is why he betrays his group to the terrorists. The survivors leave him behind on the rig when they escape, having discovered that it is rigged to blow.
- Lampshade Hanging: Protagonist Alastair McQuade loves action films and talks a lot about Die Hard. Guess what type of story this one resembles.
- Popular Is Dumb: Subverted. Alastair has, much to his own surprise, ended up in a relationship with former class beauty and popular girl Annette, who isn't stupid at all. Actually she's smart enough not to go to the reunion.
- Retired Badass: Hector McGregor.Tim Vale is technically retired. He still works as a security consultant but he used to be a secret agent.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Subverted. He has reformed and turned into a very likable person. He also had a Freudian Excuse. Which he himself totally rejects.