After a double murder in the Hamptons--the corpses of two mobsters, their hands severed, are found hanging from the Shinnecock Bridge--ex-boxer Jake "Pay Day" Bechet assumes that someone has crossed his former employers, the Castello crime family, with whom he has forged an uneasy truce. Still, such activity so close to home makes him uneasy. It turns out that that feeling is justified, as he is subsequently accosted by Jorge Castello, who tries to blackmail Bechet into investigating the killings, claiming someone is trying to pin the blame on his organization. Although reluctant to become entangled in Castello business again, Bechet realizes that the only way to keep his past from destroying his present is to uncover the truth. His investigation leads him to form an uneasy alliance with Tommy Miller, a retired PI whose ex-girlfriend Abby figures prominently in their mystery investigation.
The Water's Edge is an atmospheric masterpiece, teeming with melancholy, longing, and sudden, shocking violence. Although Bechet and Miller are fascinating leading men, perhaps the most important character is Abby, who Judson never brings on stage, instead presenting her to the audience through remembrances, and appearances on videotape. That readers experience the presence of this enigmatic character so powerfully is a tribute to Judson's writing ability--readers come to trust his characters' perceptions as if they were dealing with one of their own intimate, flesh and blood, acquaintances.