A specific one, that is. Set mainly in New York, the protagonist is an ex-alcoholic ex-cop who put away a psychopath some years before. The criminal vowed to kill every woman who meant something to our hard-boiled hero. He ended up serving more than his sentence (for bad behaviour), but is now out, and seething for revenge. He is characterized by having very strong fingers, which he uses to attack pressure points when fighting.
Memorable incident: our gritty ex-cop buys a bottle of bourbon, and then pours it down the sink. He then calls his AA sponsor, who tells his how stupid that was.
Memorable aphorism: for various reasons (given, but I've forgotten them), cops and hookers make for good couples.
Memorable (but probably misremembered) quote: "He still had strong fingers, the strongest I've ever known. And he still had a glass jaw."
It's been a few years since I read it, so it can't be all that hot off the presses.

Any of the above information may be inaccurate, or just flat out wrong. Good luck, and many thanks to anyone who can help!

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Try this: A Ticket to the Boneyard, by Lawrence Block. It's part of his Matthew Scudder series.
Bingo! You're a star, Cynthia, that one was really getting to me. For some reason I was sure it was an Elmore Leonard, and was just going round in circles.

Now feeling much better.
When I was teaching high school English many moons ago, I used to tell the kids that there were only seven basic plots. The one I remember that appealed to the kids: Boy meets girl-Obstacle--Obstacle overcome-Happy ending.I have no idea where I obtained the information and really do not remember all seven. There was a great journalism teacher, Ralph Stuller, who had owned a newpaper for several years before he went into teaching. He taught me a lot. He had a collection of owls, and kids loved him. His collection (ceramic, stuffed, carved, etc.) grew very large...Reedsport Union High School circa late 1960s. Back then I was Sue Morgan and green as grass. Ralph and his wife Edith have probably hit that Rainbow Trail now. Both were excellent teachers.
I've heard there are only two plots (it's from John Gardner, I believe): someone goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town.

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