It would seem that Matt Scudder bought his ticket to the boneyard when he was instrumental in putting away James Leo Motley for aggravated assault. It turns out that Motley is rather psychotic and tends to hold a grudge before violently acting on it. And now that he's out of prison, Scudder's on top of his hit list, as is just about anyone remotely friendly to him.
In between trips to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Scudder desperately tries to convince the police that Motley is a deranged killer and is responsible for a few of the latest deaths around town. Motley, however, is clever enough to provide no provable evidence for Scudder to give the police. So in the end, it looks as though it will have to come down to a man on man confrontation.
Apart from being worried about being murdered by a psychopath, Scudder is also working hard on not taking a drink. This is something he works at throughout the book and is very important to his character's development.
Scudder is a very complex character who appears to be finally getting some sort of grip on his life. Although appearing to bumble his way through some situations he is able to stand up during the important moments. This is quite a good thriller that occasionally loses momentum while attending AA meetings.