An Amos Walker novel is more about atmosphere, smart-alecky dialogue, the deterioration of Detroit, and the hard-boiled persona. In this chapter, the plot is complicated by his addiction to painkillers, and the doctor’s condition for his release from rehab: get counseling. He does, with extremely unlikely results. Meanwhile, what’s an Amos Walker novel without a mystery? And he is presented with one in his somewhat desperate shape by his friend in the Sheriff’s department, albeit as a charity case and limited in scope.
The real mystery is who killed Donald Gates just before or after the start of New Year’s Day. Detroit is flooded with billboards with his picture and the message: “You Know Who Killed Me.” The idea was his 10-year-old son’s, and it was paid for by his widow. Amos’ assignment is limited to chasing down phone tips resulting from an anonymous $10,000 reward which brings out all the crazies, which the limited Sheriff’s staff has no time to investigate. Amos is warned not to contact the widow or look into the case itself. But that never stopped him from going against orders.
All the attributes of previous novels in the series, e.g., the dialogue and attitudes, are present in this one. The prose is equally cynical, a trademark. While the conclusion may not be up to one’s expectations, it works for Amos. And that’s all that counts.