New York's a tough town. Hard to impress. Shrugs off hype, casts a cold eye on glitz. But once in a blue moon a killer with street smarts and a sense of theater will reach out and take the city by the throat. Maybe he'll write letters to a popular tabloid columnist, proclaiming himself the answer to a failed criminal justice system. Maybe he'll point a finger at the kind of villain the law can't touch. A child killer who got off on a technicality, say. A top mobster with decades of blood on his hands. A rabble-rouser who incites others to murder. Maybe he'll sign himself "Will," as in "The Will of the People." Then suppose he takes aim at a respectable lawyer, a defense attorney with a roster of unpopular clients. Suppose the lawyer's a friend of Matt Scudder. Scudder is New York to the bone. He's as tough as the big town itself, as hard to impress. And now he's up against the self-styled Will of the People in a city with eight million ways to die, a city where not just the good guys but even the wicked get worse than they deserve.
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