Matt Scudder has been entrusted with an envelope following the death of blackmailer, Jacob “Spinner” Jablon. The contents of said envelope you ask? Oh, nothing crazy, just evidence that could ruin the lives of three New Yorkers. Basically, Spinner has posthumously asked Scudder to find out who killed him. The only catch is that one of the 3 that Spinner had wrapped around his finger intends to silence Scudder just like they silenced Spinner. It all comes down to if Matt’s mind can work fast enough to survive and deduce who killed Jablon.
I was hoping for something just as strong as The Sins of the Fathers and boy, oh boy, did I ever get what I wanted. Not only did Block add a bit of dry humour to Scudder and his encounters with the above mentioned 3 (a particularly hilarious line upon meeting Beverly Ethridge for the first time), he had my mind thrown all over the place as I consistently thought I had it all figured out.
Scudder is just such an awesome character. As I said in an earlier review, my love of “gray” anti-hero type characters has a great deal to do with why I love this series so much. I hate one dimensional good guys. Scudder has a past that he is constantly struggling with; the accidental death of a 7 year old girl when she inadvertently stumbled into a crime.
He says that he usually donates to the Catholic Church due to the fact that they’re always open, that they seem to work the hardest. I think he identifies with their strong association with personal grief and guilt. He has no problem with causing mental anguish to those involved in solving a case but when an unjustified killing takes place, his whole mind seems to shut down and if he’s not turning to booze, he’s sitting on a wooden bench inside a church.
Maybe I’m just looking too deep into the character but this is where I found my mind wandering when I put the book down.
Nevertheless, I have ridiculously high hopes for the rest of this series. As many have pointed out, apparently it only gets better from here on in; something that I’m extremely happy with.