In his fourth appearance, Matthew Scudder deals as an unlicensed private investigator with a case from his own past as a cop. A serial killer has confessed to the murder of seven woman, but insists he had nothing to do with the death of an eighth victim. The dead woman's father hires Scudder to investigate, and the facts he uncovers tend to confirm the killer's claim of innocence. This tells him a new killer purposely copied earlier crimeswhich makes it likely he had a personal motive. Scudder, very much the hard-drinking loner, stays on the case like a dog with a bone, even after his own client has attempted to dismiss him.
It's in this novel that Scudder meets sculptor and SoHo resident Jan Keane, who'll figure prominently in several future volumes of the popular series.
"Block knows how to weave a tangled web. And when people try to deceive, which is fairly often in his books, they get into a lot of trouble. Block's plots are taut, and his dialogue realistic without too many embellishments. The characters are tough men and they speak accordingly." ~Rocky Mountain News
"Unusually well written! Block is a deft surgeon, sure and precise." ~The New York Times
"Riveting...a staggering conclusion." ~Publishers Weekly
"Convincing suspense." ~Philadelphia Inquirer
"Block is awfully good, with an ear for dialogue, an eye for low-life types, and a gift for fast and effortless storytelling that bears comparison with Elmore Leonard." ~Los Angeles Times