Matthew Scudder knows that justice is an elusive commodity in the big city, where a harmless man can be shot dead in a public place criminals fly free through holes in a tattered legal system. But now a vigilante is roaming among the millions, executing those he fees deserve to die. He calls himself "The Will of the People"--an ingenious serial killer who announces his specific murderous intentions to the media before carrying through on his threats. A child molester, a Mafia don, a violent anti-abortionist -- even the protected and untouchable are being ruthlessly erased by New York's latest celebrity avenger.
Scudder knows that no one is innocent -- but who among us has the right to play God? It is a question that will haunt the licensed p.i. on his journey through the bleak city grays, as he searches for the sanity in urban madness. . .and for a frighteningly efficient killer who can do the impossible.
This is far from the best of Lawrence Block's landmark Scudder series-too little action or suspense, too much domestic bliss--so I'll just use its publication as an excuse to introduce newcomers to some past glories. The best of them all is still When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, definitely on my short list of the 100 Best Mysteries. But close behind are such other Scudder classics as A Long Line of Dead Men, A Dance at the Slaughterhouse, The Devil Knows You're Dead, Eight Million Ways to Die, In the Midst of Death, A Ticket to the Boneyard, and A Walk Among the Tombstones.