Small-time stoolie Jake "The Spinner" Jablon made a lot of new enemies when he switched careers from informer to blackmailer. And the more "clients," he figured, the more money--and the more people eager to see him dead. So he's greedy but scared, and he turns to his old acquaintance Matthew Scudder, who used to pay him for information back in Scudder's days as a cop. Scudder's his insurance policy--if anything happens to "The Spinner," Scudder can check up on the people who wanted him dead. No one is too surprised when the pigeon is found floating in the East River with his skull bashed in. Blackmail's a dangerous business. What's worse, no one cares--except Matthew Scudder. The unofficial private eye is no conscientious avenging angel. But he's willing to risk his own life and limb to confront Spinner's most murderously aggressive marks. A job's a job, after all, and Scudder's been paid to find a killer--by the victim...in advance.