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A Stab in the Dark [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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1.0 out of 5 stars Snore.. snort.. huh? I guess I went to sleep Sept. 27 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I made it the whole way to Jan's and Matt's "enlighting" [not very... cut me a break Block], trite, hack conversation about if he was a drunk or not and realized I was going to sleep. I made a firm decision and tossed the book into the get rid of this asap pile and went and found something else to read.
Block reads like "she said... he said..." conversations. Dry comes to mind. As I said in a previous review if you really hate "show not tell" in novels this is the writer for you. He does no showing at all. I feel as if I am listening to someone outline what might be a very good book. I had read another book of his which had the same fate as this one: halfway I tossed it into the get rid of this do NOT pass on to someone you like pile.
Matt comes across as the most pathetic attempt at an alcoholic I have encountered in novels [or in real life and I use to work Drug and Alcohol units]. He meanders aimlessly thru his addiction and Block meanders aimlessly thru the plot. Well suited for each other. It's a shame. As I said previously there is great potential for a GREAT story here. It was wasted more than Matt ever was in his drinking days.
IF you must try Block, I suggest the library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book #4, another winner! Dec 2 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
. Matthew Scudder is Lawrence Block's remarkable private investigator. He's a former NYPD detective who left the force after an accident left a child dead in a crossfire. Because he is unlicensed you can't "hire" him. Instead he does you a favor by taking your case and solving the crime. In exchange for the favor the client returns the favor by giving him some cash. Scudder is an alcoholic. Rarely do you find him without a drink in has hand or at one of has favorite watering holes. "A Stab in the Dark" is 4th in the Matthew Scudder series. There are 14 dozen more to read and enjoy. Scudder is hired to solve a nine year murder of a young woman. There had been a series of ice-pick killings. This one doesn't quite match the others. Scudder needs to find the psycho killer who may no longer be in New York. The book is exciting from start to finish. We also find him with female partner who also loves to drink. In Stab in the hard hitting private eye looks towards the possibility of sobriety as he considers AA. An afterthought: Matthew Scudder is a realistic, likeable character. In the early books we find that after he left the NYPD he took up drinking and left his wife and two sons. From time to time she asks Scudder to send more money because "we need it." Scudder generally obliges. Although not living with his family Scudder is not distant from them. He speaks to his boys on the phone and brings them into the city for a ball game. For some reason that Scudder doesn't know finds himself visiting churches and leaving a donation, tithing, ten percent of money recently received from a client. Scudder says Catholic churches receive donations for than others because they are generally open at late hours. Although he's not a religious man he finds peace and solitude in the almost always empty sanctuary he visits.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Hardboiled Fiction Aug. 1 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the 4th book in the Matt Scudder series and is a very appropriately titled book, with Scudder investigating a stabbing murder that happened 9 years ago. He doesn't particularly look forward to the case but, with nothing better to do, he begins to sift through old ground in between cups of bourbon-laced coffee.
The Matt Scudder character is the important feature of this book as we follow his tortured journey around New York City chasing up clues in a long-dead case. He unearths clues and leads as a good detective should, but it's his battle with the bottle that proves the most fascinating story. He finally gets a good hard smack across the chops in this book which may help put him on the road to sobriety, at least, it scares him enough to consider he may need help.
This is another fine example of an outstanding modern hardboiled mystery, just part of an outstanding hardboiled series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not Block's best Scudder novel May 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While this book did have an entertaining plot, a woman is suspected of being killed by the icepick prowler, but turns out that she wasn't killed by him when he confesses to 7 of the 8 murders he was suspected of. Scudder is thrown into the mix to investigate whether Barbara Ettinger was killed by the Icepick Prowler or a copycat killer. While it is an entertaining and easy read, I felt at times that the quality of writing wasn't nearly as good as 2 of his best scudder novels ever: "Eight Million Ways to Die" and "A Dance at the Slaughterhouse". I just wasn't satisified with the quality of this book, I felt it could have been better. That tends to be the way Block's books are with me, they are either a hit or a miss.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Scudder book in the series up to this point Feb. 21 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lawrence Block took his Scudder books to a new level in "Stab in the Dark". The first three books were good enough to keep me reading, but they were not anything special. In the other books the only thing that kept me interested was Block's style and Scudder's character. The mysteries were never that interesting. This book however has a wonderful plot and has a wonderful supporting cast. Everything about this book surpassed the previous entries. While Scudder, himself, has always been a good character this entry allows the reader to probe inside his mind a little more. Hopefully this was Block's stepping stone and the rest of the series is on par with this one. It is a must read for any P.I. lover.
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