Through no deliberate intent, I've been reading the Matt Scudder series backwards. I started with A Long Line of Dead Men (#11) then went on the Even the Wicked (#12) and that's all well and good (I've done the same thing with his Burglar series, having read #'s 4, 5, 6, and 7 in that order), but then I dropped back to Eight Million Ways to Die (#5) because it was the only audiobook my library had.
Now I've come to #2, this book. It's very interesting to see Scudder's life in this way, because I already have insight into his future actions. In the later ones, Matt is a recovering alcoholic, in Eight Million, he begins his treatment after deciding to do something about it. However, in Midst, he doesn't yet seem to be aware that he even has a problem. Although he's never far from his next drink, when someone mentions the word "alcoholic," he rationalizes it away.
The mystery is never the reason to read Lawrence Block (even though I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate that because he works hard to create the mystery), it's the characters. And Scudder is not exception. I don't even remember what the mystery was in Eight Million Ways to Die, but it stand out as my favorite because of the way Block writes about Scudder's struggle with realization.
Matt Scudder is one of the most interesting characters in fiction, but I haven't read all his books because they are invariably dark and I have to be in the mood for them. But read them I will.
A note on the audiobook presentation: Alan Sklar's voice fits this material nicely. This is a wonderful addition to the Chivers Audio presentations of Block's works. The only one I liked more was Block's own reading of Eight Million Ways to Die.