When Charlie McCall, son of one of Albany's political bosses, is kidnapped, the family asks small time gambler and pool shark Billy Phelan, to keep an eye on a friend of his that they think might be involved. Billy, however, has his own code of honor, and although he makes an attempt at complying, ultimately he finds he in unable to violate his code of honor. The McCalls put the word out on the street that Billy Phelan is no good, and he finds himself unwelcome at his usual haunts. They won't serve him at bars. They won't let him into the pool halls. They won't play poker with him. Still Billy will not violate his code. He thinks about leaving town, but knows that there is no other place for him. He wanders aimlessly.
The ransom is paid. The McCalls get their revenge on the kidnappers. In the end a newspaper column by his friend Martin Daugherty, who has helped in getting the kidnapped Charlie released, explains Phelan's code of honor and restores his reputation.
The review of this Book prepared by Jack Goodstein