Although Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve-step program has been a lifesaver for many people, Jack Ellery never got past the eighth step. Matthew Scudder ran into Jack Ellery at an AA meeting. Jack had attended the same grade school as Matt but the two really didn’t know a lot about each other. Matt is an ex-police officer who is attempting to put his life back together. This includes attending many AA meetings. Jack, on many occasions. has been on the other side of the law but he is working at turning his life around.
Matt and Jack get together after the AA meeting and catch up on the past. Jack filled Matt in on his sponsor, Gregory Stillman, who Jack referred to as a “Step Nazi”. Jack said that Greg had been helping him work on the steps and the next one was the step where you list people you have harmed and become willing to make amends.
Matt was spending time on and off with his girl friend, Jan. Matt attended an AA meeting with Jan where he ran into Jack again. This time Jack didn’t look good. His face was swollen and he had been beaten pretty badly. The next news Matt had regarding Jack was from Greg Stillman. Jack had been murdered.