A Walk Among the Tombstones
A Walk Among the Tombstones Plot
In 1991, while driving with his partner, Detective Matthew “Matt” Scudder is urged to seek assistance and told that he is not a trustworthy backup. Scudder then goes inside a pub and orders a cup of coffee with shots. The bartender is killed by two armed men who enter the room. Scudder kills one of the assailants then pursues and kills the second assailant as well as the getaway driver.
Eight years later, Peter Kristo, a drug addict, approaches a retired Scudder and asks him to assist his brother Kenny, a drug trafficker. Kenny informs Scudder that his wife has been kidnapped and that the kidnappers have demanded a ransom. The kidnappers directed him to a car containing her dismembered body after he delivered the cash as ordered. Kenny wants Scudder to assist him in locating the killers of his wife. Scudder eventually agrees to assist him.
At a public library, Scudder investigates similar murders. He reads about Marie Gotteskind and Leila Anderssen, two victims. TJ, a homeless streetwise adolescent, is the first person he meets. TJ is assisting with the research.
Scudder visits a cemetery and speaks with Jonas Loogan, a groundskeeper who is furious that Scudder recalls him of finding garbage bags with body pieces of the dismembered Leila in the cemetery pond.
Scudder speaks with Reuben, Leila’s fiancé, who witnessed two guys dragging her into a van driven by a third. Scudder notices Loogan exiting an apartment building across the street. He climbs to the roof and discovers Loogan living in a shed. He notices polaroid photographs of Reuben and Leila having a sexual encounter. When Loogan comes, he acknowledges that he assisted in the kidnapping of Leila. He had plotted to take Leila away from Reuben, a drug dealer, and to assist her in quitting using drugs. The other two, on the other hand, tortured and murdered her. He informs Scudder that the other two men are “not human,” and that he should be afraid of them. He feeds his pigeons, names Scudder “Ray,” and then jumps to his death from the roof.
Ray and Albert, the two kidnappers, are watching the residence of Yuri Landau, another drug trafficker. They prepare to leave for a new target after learning that Landau’s wife is bedridden. Ray, however, sees his 14-year-old daughter, Lucia, and decides to abduct her.
Scudder soon discovers that the murder victim, Marie Gotteskind, was a DEA agent, and that whomever killed her also possesses her papers, which they have been using to track down drug dealers and traffickers. Scudder, meantime, becomes closer to TJ, encouraging him to study and stay away from a life of crime. He discovers TJ in a hospital one day after being beaten up by a street gang and learns that he has sickle cell anemia. TJ is given a phone by Scudder so that he can contact him if he needs anything. Scudder reveals why he retired during a meeting with TJ. He was inebriated during the 1991 shootout. One of his wayward rounds “caught a nasty hop” and struck a young girl in the eye, killing her instantly. Despite receiving a commendation, he left his job as a cop and stopped drinking.
Kenny takes Scudder to Yuri Landau’s house, where the kidnappers call and agree to meet at a cemetery to exchange cash for Lucia. They demand $1 million in exchange for bringing Lucia back to life, according to Scudder. Kenny offers Yuri a $600,000 loan in exchange for $210,000 in counterfeit money. Scudder, Kenny, Landau, Peter, and TJ get in their car and travel to the graveyard. TJ is told to stay in the car by Scudder. Lucia is brought to her father, alive but with two fingers severed to the bone, after a standoff. Albert examines the currency and realizes that some of it is counterfeit. There is a shootout. Scudder wounds Ray and kills Peter. TJ hides in the back of Albert and Ray’s van as they flee.
TJ emerges from the van after Albert and Ray have arrived at their destination. Scudder gets their address from him. While in the basement, Albert betrays the wounded Ray by strangling him to death with a metal wire. TJ is found outside the house by Scudder and Kenny, and they all quietly enter the house to discover Albert calmly enjoying his dinner. Scudder handcuffs Albert after he surrenders. Kenny wants to kill him, but Scudder persuades him not to because TJ is present and seeing everything. Scudder warns Kenny that the evidence is sufficient to imprison Albert for the rest of his life. Kenny agrees grudgingly. Scudder leaves Kenny with Albert while he takes TJ to his flat in a taxi. Kenny uses a bottle to knock Albert out. He enters the basement and discovers Ray’s body as well as instruments for dismembering bodies. Albert awakens while Kenny is downstairs.
Scudder returns to the house and discovers Albert has vanished. He descends to the basement and discovers Kenny’s body on the stairwell (implying that Albert killed Kenny). Albert tries to strangle him with a metal wire from behind. Scudder overpowers and tasers Albert in a table-turning brawl. He kills him with a gunshot to the head in the end. Police arrive at the crime scene a short time later, with Scudder watching from distance.
Scudder returns home to find TJ sleeping on the couch and notices a sketch of himself as a superhero, complete with a sickle on his cape to symbolize his sickle cell anemia.