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A Dance at the Slaughterhouse Paperback – May 12 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion mass market paperback (May 12 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857970659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857970654
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,918,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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MIDWAY INTO THE FIFTH ROUND THE KID IN THE BLUE TRUNKS rocked his opponent with a solid left to the jaw. Read the first page
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'd never heard of Lawrence Block until I read one of his short stories, "The Merciful Angel of Death" in THE NEW MYSTERY anthology, edited by Jerome Charyn. I liked the story so much that I was thrilled to find he also wrote novels, which led to A DANCE AT THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE and Matt Scudder. Since then I've read all of the Scudder mysteries and buy the newest one as soon as I hear about it.
So what's so good about Scudder? He's a great character for one thing. He's a recovering alcoholic, a detective without a license, a former cop who left his wife and kids. And he's got some of the seediest friends you'll ever meet. An albino pimp. Mick Ballou, a bar owner who kills people. A high-classed prostitute girlfriend. Then there's T.J., his street-smart partner with a facility for computers.
Scudder walks or takes the subway wherever he goes. He putters around, drinking coffee, going to AA meetings, donating money to the church (any church) when he gets paid for a case. He never seems to make any progress, but his perambulations give us a chance to see New York. Then he finds a tiny thread here, another there, and before we know he's cooking with gas.
In A DANCE AT THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE Scudder takes on the Amanda Thurman murder case. After attending a small dinner party on Central Park West, Richard and Amanda Thurman return to their brownstone on West Fifty-second Street, only to be confronted by burglars who draw guns and herd them into their apartment. They steal his watch, wallet, and Amanda's jewelry, beat Richard, tie him up and tape his mouth; then they rape his wife in front of him. Richard manages to knock the phone off the table, free the tape from his mouth, and call 911. But his wife is dead.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started reading Lawrence Block a few years ago and I have grown to really appreciate his Matthew Scudder books. Block can write extremely readable prose, he can create believable (and interesting) characters, and he can tell a story. "A Dance at the Slaughterhouse" is the perfect example of this. This is a great book that captures the reader early an doesn't turn him loose until the end. Elaine, T.J., and Mick are wonderful supporting characters for Matthew Scudder, who is dogged yet resourceful in his starring role. Scudder is flawed but still highly skilled as a detective and the reader becomes attached to this character very quickly. If you haven't put Scudder/Block on your "must read" list, do so immediately.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series is one of the absolute best P.I. Fiction series out there. He is one of the few that can be compared with the great Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe. And "Dance at the Slaughterhouse" is one of the best and is certainly the most grusome entry in the entire series. Death has always been a preoccupation in the Scudder novels. In New York City, death seems to be Scudder's constant companion as he struggles to remain alcohol free and to keep his life on track. Here he begin two seemingly unconnected cases and follows their meandering leads until they start to connect in some brutally ugly ways. Scudder has come into possession of a genuine snuff film, and he can't get it out of his mind. Ultimately, he encounters a world of sex deviants and children who sell their bodies. Along the way, recurring characters such as gangster Mickey Ballou, call girl Elaine and ex-pimp Chance provide plenty of color.
Block's Scudder series is almost unique among P.I. fiction in that it is able to maintain its edge even as its hero goes through significant life changes. His continuing battle with the bottle provides an added tension that stays in the background like a predator ready to pounce. Overall, this is one of the best Scudder novels and a must read for P.I. fiction fans.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Among Block's fifteen or so Scudder novels, and about sixty books overall, many are not worth reading, but some stack up quite well against the top output of other mystery novelists. Here, the plotting is relatively complicated, with Block using to good effect the common trick of having two separate cases come together. Scudder's history and present life situation are as usual made integral to the story, and many of the peripheral characters get time in the spotlight, with TJ, who's a lot of fun, being introduced here. Hell's Kitchen is vividly brought to life here, and the story is dark enough to - almost - invite comparison to Andrew Vachss. Sometimes the Scudder novels are mostly about his journey through life, sometimes they tend to degenerate into a series of conversations, sometimes the plots are simple, linear, and seemingly designed to give Block enough reason to crank out another book. This one is very solid. Along with Boneyard and Tombstones, this amonts to something of a renaissance for the series.
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