The spiritual/visceral odyssey of a white male hustler that carries a heavy line of social significance in which masculinity is defined in terms of protest from the downtrodden (a corollary to the author's I Ain't Marchin' Anymore, (1969). Dubbed ""Angel"" by his no-good father who deserted him early, the boy is raised with a sweet blind sister by a scatterbrained aunt. And he learns about black despair and black pride from his school contemporary Parker who is brutally murdered by whites. The chance Angel never took to warn Parker plus the sight of dying and suffering blacks drive him away from his Chicago home to New York and the restless freedom of hustling. A young hood, a timid black kid, a middle-aged writer all teach him something about love and guilt until at the close in a bar fight he takes the side of a doomed white beaten by blacks just because of the ""sheer imbalance of the odds. . . . That was making good."" Between scores, a murky game however intense.