An ancient brotherhood meets annually in the back room of a swank Manhattan restuarant, a fraternity created in secret to celebrate life by celebrating its dead. But the past three decades have not been kind to the Club of 31. Matthew Scudder - ex-cop, ex-boozer - has known death in all its guises, which is why he as been asked to investigate a baffling, thirty-year run of suicides and suspiciously random accidents that has thinned the ranks of this very select group of gentlemen. But Scudder has mortality problems of his own, for his is a city that feeds mercilessly on the unsuspecting - and even the powerful and those who serve them are easy prey. There are too many secrets here, and too many places for a maddeningly patient serial killer to hide...and wait...and strike.