Someone has declared war on Mick Ballou and his criminal enterprises and Matthew Scudder is caught in the middle, first having a friend gunned down in front of him and then nearly being killed at Mick's bar. Can Matt figure out who is behind the attacks before anyone else close to him is killed?
Wow. After I finished Even the Wicked, I thought Lawrence Block might have been phoning in the rest of them. How wrong I was!
The thing that keeps me coming back to the Matthew Scudder books is the fluid nature of Matthew Scudder and his world. The supporting cast are as big of an attraction to me as Scudder himself. Hard Way Ray, Joe Durkin, Danny Boy Bell, Lisa Holtzman, then all make appearances in this one. A couple of them will never make appearances again. That's what made Everybody Dies so powerful. A few long-running cast members end up dead at the hands of a criminal gunning for Mick Ballou. Not even TJ gets out unscathed.
I had an idea who the mole was in Mick's crew about halfway through but I didn't figure out who the big baddie was until about a paragraph before Matt. This one had a finale that sticks out as one of my all time favorites in crime fiction, a glorious shit storm of violence. Like Matt said to Elaine near the end "Everybody else is dead."
I'd been waiting to read a Matthew Scudder story centering in Mick Ballou for a long time and this one did not disappoint. It's easily in the Scudder top three.