This was Iain Banks' first work, and is a notably slimmer work than any else I've read from this phenominally productive writer (he's published one novel every year since this one came out in '84). It's about a twisted young teenage murderer, and the life and times of his family.
The depravaty of the story make Banks' imagination look a few shades sicker than that of supposed horror writers. The scariest thing for me was the number of habits and tastes that I shared with the main character (or did share, as a teenager). It's an incredibly true-feeling story, and is a page-turning book.
The ending is impossible to escape; you can't put the book down while this one's winding up. I was absolutely glued to this book for its final chapter, and was honestly amazed by its ending.