You don't kill a nun in the 87th... not and get away with it.
One thing you have to understand about this city is: it's dangerous. Never mind the reassuring bulletins from the mayor's office. Just watch the first ten minutes of the 11:00 o'clock news every night and you'll learn in the wink of an eye exactly what the people of this city are capable of doing to each other. And 11:00 is when the city learned about a nun strangled in the park.
Detectives Carella and Brown of the 87th Precinct catch the case. Who'd kill a nun? Why? Their search for answers will lead them far from the big bad city, into the South, into the past --- into a dark moment in the nun's life when she wasn't Sister Mary Vincent. It was a moment when she bore witness to evil.
But Sister Mary's murder isn't the only think concerning the men of the 87th. They're also hunting for the Cookie Boy, a burglar who may have graduated from taking people's property to taking their lives. And sliding through the city's shadows is Sonny Cole, a thug with murder on his hands and the murder of detective Stephen Louis Carella on his mind.