Family is a recurring idea in the story. Rebus has an ex-wife and daughter who live in London. Rebus is not close to his ex-wife and they often fight when they get together, so he does not imagine spending a great deal of time with her. Rebus makes one visit to his ex-wife's apartment and decides that is good enough. When he runs into his ex-wife later, he turns away before she can see him. His daughter, however, is another story. Rebus loves his daughter and would love to spend a great deal of time with her, but Sammy is a teenager now. Sammy has interests and hobbies that Rebus does not understand. This does not stop him, however, from checking out her boyfriend and sending him on his way when he learns he is involved in criminal activity. Rebus simply does what he thinks is right for his little girl.