"A welcome return for Matt Scudder."
Matt Scudder and 'High-Low' Jack Ellery were acquaintances growing up in the Bronx but their lives took different paths. Scudder joined the NYPD while Ellery took to a life of crime and ended up in a police line-up. The only thing that they had in common was their alcohol dependency. In time both dried out, Scudder left the force and Ellery was inspired by the Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step programme to atone for his past misdemeanours. The ninth step involves him making amends to all the people he had wronged during his life. The only problem is that it is a long list and many on it don't realise that it was Ellery who committed the crimes.
When Ellery is killed, Scudder is pulled into the world that his old schoolmate left behind. There is a list of potential killers all with a good reason to want Ellery dead but no obvious prime suspect. Only as the list of victims grows does Scudder realise that he will soon be in the killer's sights.