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This is far from the best of Lawrence Block's landmark Scudder series-too little action or suspense, too much domestic bliss--so I'll just use its publication as an excuse to introduce newcomers to some past glories. The best of them all is still When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, definitely on my short list of the 100 Best Mysteries. But close behind are such other Scudder classics as A Long Line of Dead Men, A Dance at the Slaughterhouse, The Devil Knows You're Dead, Eight Million Ways to Die, In the Midst of Death, A Ticket to the Boneyard, and A Walk Among the Tombstones. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Marriage to his old flame, Elaine, seems to have mellowed Block's veteran PI, Matt Scudder. He still continues to get his man with a combination of doggedness and occasional flashes of inspiration, but his life has become too cozy to make him the absorbing companion he used to be. Quiet domestic evenings spent talking things over with Elaine in Block's patented delightful dialogue alternate with thoughtful discussions, in this case, with the two perpetrators in the book, who give themselves up without a murmur. Voices are never raised; not even a roscoe barks. It's all too civilized, as if Scudder's formerly gritty world were moving closer to that of Block's much slighter series hero, the daffy burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr. There are two plots here, ingeniously intertwined: one involves a serial killer taking out notable bad guys to the delight of the New York press, particularly a pushy columnist who gets to publish the man's gloating notes; the other concerns the mysterious killing, in broad daylight on a park bench, of a friend of a friend of Scudder's who's in the last stages of AIDS and has a complicated insurance arrangement. As usual, Block's ingenuity in finding new motives for crime is endless, his narration polished, his entertainment value high. What is missing here is the violence, or the constant threat of it, that made Scudder's earlier appearances memorable. The ending, involving Scudder's streetwise sidekick TJ, is downright sentimental. Brace up, Block!
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I have but one more Scudder book to read to be all caught up. Have LOVED them all, even though I am not a "crime/mystery" novel afficiando -- ALL EXCEPT this one. Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2002
...with you people. i may not have read any other matthew scudder mysteries, but this is one of my favorite books. i think ill read it again some time soon. get this book. Read morePublished on March 20 2001 by liam
Scudder continues to deliver the goods, but at times seems to be only a shadow of the man he used to be. Still, this is a good read and actually concentrates on two (non-related! Read morePublished on April 11 2000
I think Lawrence Block is a great writer, but this book failed to hold my interest. Usually I have a difficult time putting Block's books down; this one, on the other hand, I had... Read morePublished on Oct. 4 1998
THIS BLOCK ENTRY IS NOT UP TO THE STANDARD OF THE PREVIOUS "SCUDDER" BOOKS. HE IS STARTING TO SOUND MORE LIKE THE "BURGLAR" OF BLOCK'S OTHER SERIES THAN THE... Read morePublished on May 26 1998