Matt Scudder is hired by the brother of a recently murdered woman. He's given the unfortunate task of investigating the husband who is believed by most to have had a hand in her demise. Shortly after taking the job, Matt finds himself drawn back into something that had impacted his life just a few months earlier.
Coming off the heels of the 8th Scudder novel in which Matt encounters his most dangerous adversary, Block created an impressive follow up. Block gives Scudder plenty to do here, hitting him with two mysteries.
The surrounding cast within Scudder's universe both expands and develops nicely. In fact, there's quite a bit of development. His relationship with Elaine becomes a little more defined and you do get that sense that something is going to have to change. His friendship with Durkin becomes a little complicated at points and Mick Ballou is just as awesome as ever.
I will sneak this in here - I've read a lot of Chuck Palahniuk so I've got a taste for over-the-top, disgusting events taking place. Some of the stuff that Block throws in here is pretty uncharacteristic for the series up to this point. While it didn't disturb me nor offend me, it was certainly unexpected.
In typical Block fashion (basing this on the 8 other books I've read), the ending is pretty quick. The final pages are filled with action and suspense which wrap up the book excellently. In fact, something rather significant occurs prompting Scudder to act in a way you probably couldn't predict.
I'm going to say 4.5. I really loved this book, I just can't put it on the same level as its predecessor.