At the urging of an opinion piece, a vigilante takes to the streets of New York knocking off an accused child molester who up until now, has escaped the hand of justice. Succeeding in his mission, he dubs himself “The Will of the People” (or “Will” for short). Shortly after, he writes into a prominent New York newspaper threatening the lives of several other less than savory citizens.
It isn’t until a particularly well known lawyer finds himself in Will’s crosshairs that Matt Scudder is brought into the fold. Hired to track down and uncover Will, Matt enlists the assistance of his sometimes employer, Reliable Security to keep an eye on the frightened barrister.
If that isn’t enough on Scudder’s plate, he’s also recruited to look into the murder of a friend of a friend; a man named Byron Leopold, who had been shot in cold blood while sitting on a park bench. With Matt unsure of where to begin with Will, he concentrates his time tracking down this other killer. With such a heavy workload on his shoulders, can Matt juggle both cases?
While I was disappointed Mick Ballou’s small role, Block shines the spotlight on both TJ and “Hard Way” Ray, hoping they can hold their own as the supporting cast. A relatively new addition to the world of Scudder, “Hard Way” Ray provides a great wall for Matt to bounce theories off of and offers a distinctly different viewpoint that no other character can offer – what with being a criminal defense lawyer and all. TJ makes strides as Scudder’s right hand man as the two grow closer than ever; further developing a father/son relationship.
While I enjoyed the case surrounding “Will” and the payoff was surprising; it’s the case that involves Byron that I found most compelling. It’s hard to really talk about how interesting it was and how it unraveled without getting heavy into spoiler territory but given my chosen profession, I thought it was an intriguing angle (even if it is a common staple of the detective fiction genre) and brought to light a practice I wasn’t even aware of.
Even The Wicked is another strong entry in the Scudder saga that clearly shows that despite being the thirteenth entry in the series, Block still has plenty of gas left in the tank.