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All The Flowers Are Dying [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block

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Book Description

Feb. 9 2006 Matthew Scudder Mysteries

A man in a Virginia prison awaits execution for three horrific murders he must have committed but swears he didn't . . .

An aging investigator in New York City has seen too much and lost too much -- and is ready to leave the darkness behind . . .

But a nightmare is coming home -- because a brilliant, savage, patient monster has unfinished business in the big city . . . and a hunger that can be satisfied only by fear and the slow, agonizing death of Matthew Scudder and the woman he loves.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (Feb. 9 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061030961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061030963
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.9 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Matt Scudder, bestseller Block's extraordinary private detective, has been around for almost 30 years, and if his aging has been neither gentle nor graceful, it's certainly been eventful. In his stellar 16th outing (after 2001's Hope to Die), the 60-something Scudder proves to be as tough and resilient as ever when faced with the slickest, sickest killer to ever test his mettle. Fans won't be surprised that the killer is linked to the unresolved murders of Hope to Die or that Elaine and Scudder may become the fiend's target. The narrative smoothly shifts between Scudder's point-of-view and the thoughts and actions of the killer, whose ingenuity, daring and pure viciousness sear the pages. Aware of the danger but without a clue to the person behind the threat, Scudder and Elaine are forced into a protective siege while Scudder uses all his skills to probe the mystery. Series fans will welcome the familiar characters and places that have become such an important part of Scudder's universe: TJ, Mick Ballou, Grogan's Bar, the AA meeting spots. Add them together with some brilliant twists and one gets a thrilling, satisfying concoction brewed by a master storyteller in top form.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Another powerful meditation on mortality in thriller’s clothing (Kirkus Reviews)

“A thrilling, satisfying concotion brewed by a master storyteller in top form.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“[A] mesmerizing tale of psychological suspense.” (Library Journal)

“Shows what a real crime novel can be in the hands of a master craftsman.” (ReviewingTheEvidence.com)

“Block, as always, takes his readers on a wildly entertaining ride.” (Buffalo News)

“Block, who couldn’t write a dull scene even if he tried to, is in fine form here.” (Los Angeles Times)

“A welcome addition to the Scudder mythos.” (Bookreporter.com)

“[Block] ratches up the suspense with breathtaking results as only a skilled, inventive and talented writer can do.” (Orlando Sentinel)

“An unforgettable tale of violence, death and deceit.” (Lansing State Journal)

“A page-turning work of art.” (Toronto Sun)

“The wit and thoughtfulness of which makes one feel better about how much one enjoyed the (very) grisly bits.” (Daily Telegraph (London) ** selected ALL THE FLOWER ARE DYING as one of the best American thrillers of the year)

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When I got there, Joe Durkin was already holding down a corner table and working on a drink-vodka on the rocks, from the looks of it. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SCUDDER'S MISSING A STEP March 30 2005
By eb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lawrence Block is probably the premiere mystery writer working today. He knows how to create full and rich characters, well paced plots, make his words sing with a rhythym all their own. Block also takes chances, ages his players in real time and provides the reader with plenty of color.

However "All The Flowers" just didn't click for me the way most of the other Scudder books did. There was far too much of the killer's thoughts, his stream of consciousness slowing the read down. It detracted from the sense that this was Matthew Scudder's world. Also, the changing back and forth from the first to third person also seemed to interfere with my enjoyment of the book.

The writing was consciously imbued with an analysis of and comments on mortality, obviously something Block was aiming at...everyone's a bit older and reacts to situations with the reality that people and things change with the passage of time. While this did not bother me, it did stand out more when contrasted against the elements I found lacking and hence slowed things down.

I'm glad Block has continued to let Scudder evolve. But the bottom line is that "Flowers" was like going to a favorite restaurant. The joint was still packed, the menu and staff pretty much the same. But the service was a bit slower, the trappings somewhat faded and the meal just wasn't as satisfying as it used to be.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weakest Scudder Novel in Quite a While June 4 2006
By Richard A. Jenkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked "All the Flowers are Dying" well enough to finish it, but I can't say I would highly recommend the book. The Scudder series has suffered from fatigue, although the last book was a big improvement over its immediate predecessors. This one will appeal to people like me who are hooked on the series, but I doubt that it would make a good introduction to Scudder for someone new. New York has changed, Scudder and the major characters have all aged, and Scudder's alcoholism has faded into the background. There's a loss of tension and angst in his life and in his relationships with others. Scudder's favorite cop has retired and there appears to be a replacement in a "college boy" who provides rather predictable turns to the plot. Serial killing seems out of place in the semi-ordered world of Matt Scudder and really belongs in the world of John Sanford's Lucas Davenport, who does this much better. The killer and his full story arc became obvious to me much too early in the book and there's a teaser subplot that's not resolved very satisfactorily. The serial killer is a bit of a cartoon and the victims (or presumed victim, in one case) don't come fully to life. Elaine, who has always been an interesting part of this series, is stuck with a thankless, underwritten part as a rather inert victim. In general, Block's stock company of characters seem tired, rather than "evolved" and it wouldn't hurt Block to move on to something else. Sadly, the last book in the "Burglar" series also was a disappointment. My advice to anyone who hasn't read Block is to start at the beginning--the books up until the mid-90s (when Block was cranking them out too quickly) are all worthwhile. For fans, this one is a way to get caught up with Scudder, but don't be surprised if it leaves you feeling like it's time for him to retire.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Larry's Off His Game March 2 2005
By Jim B. Otoole - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First let me say that I love the Scudder series. With that out of the way, Block's been off his game on his last few books beginning with Hope To Die, the previous Scudder book. The alternating between Scudder's first person narrative and the third person seems a ploy to reinvigorate a series that was doing just fine. But, it's not just that; the pace and narrative is lacking. Descriptions of day to day goings on seem to just fill space rather than move the story along. Mick, TJ, and Danny Boy Bell seem to make only regulation appearances that add little to the story.

Too bad. Martin Cruz Smith once wrote a review of one of Block's earlier Scudder books, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, saying "Much more than a mystery...A book about men, about booze, about New York, by one of the surest, most distinctive voices in American fiction." Here here.

If you're new to the Scudder series, pick up Ginmill or Out on the Cutting Edge, two great examples from this otherwise excellent series. If you're an old fan, read 'em again, they don't disappoint.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE PASSING OF MATT SCUDDER March 26 2005
By Margaret Gipe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lawrence Block is an elegant writer. His Matthew Scudder is one of the very best serial detective characters ever created in the world of mystery fiction. Starting with the very first Scudder, The Sins of the Fathers, his novels have been rich with three-dimensional characters; his dialogue real and gritty. One reviewer said that Block "writes about the sleazier aspects of life with style, compassion, and wit." Another stated "his crime novels come so close to literature that there's no degree of difference". But sadly, the last two Scudder novels haven't come close to Blocks first 8 Scudder novels., which, admittedly is a great achievment. But when you have become used to true quality, it is a great disappointment to see a novel like this. "Flowers" uses the tired, over-done cliche of the serial killer, instead of going the much harder but so much deeper and worthwhile route of creating several, multi-dimensional characters with real, believable motives to kill. One's time would be much better spent in reading Block's earlier Scudder novels, the very best of which were "In the Midst of Death" "8 Million Ways to Die", "Out on the Cutting Edge" and "When the Sacred Ginmill Closes". I have seen too many mystery writers who, sooner or later, began to crank out formulaic, write-'em- by-the-number, cheap novelettes. Margaret Gipe
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book, but a bad book for Block Oct. 5 2005
By George Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I agree with the other reviewers that Block has lost his edge in the Scudder series. The brilliant "8 Million Ways to Die" and "When The Sacred Ginmill Closes" were the peak of the series, and it's really gone downhill since.

Even so, this is a readable, entertaining book and probably not the worst in the Scudder series. The central problem seems to be that Scudder as an old man is pretty boring. Block's solution to this is writing roughly 30% of it from the perspective of the killer (Mr. Italics.) We end up trading good hard-boiled detective work for Mr. Italics' perspective of graphic sex and violence. Not an ideal trade for me.

Block veterans will recognize several recycled themes from "Small Town" and earlier Scudder books like "A Ticket to The Boneyard." The usual cast of characters in Scudder novels are all present -- gotta have a police sketch and at least one conversation with Mick.

One piece of advice -- don't make this your first impression of Matthew Scudder and/or Lawrence Block. Pick up an earlier Scudder like the two mentioned in the first paragraph, or read any of the Burglar books. Then you'll see why Block fans are disappointed with "All The Flowers Are Dying."

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