A Long Line Of Dead Men Paperback – Apr 2 1999
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"Fiendishly clever...Block's Matthew Scudder series is one of the sure things in crime fiction and A LONG OF DEAD MEN carries it forward with a fine flourish." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Letter perfect...a remarkable novel." -- -- The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, Lawrence Block is a four-time winner of the Edgar Allan Poe and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. The author of more than fifty books and numerous short stories, he is a devout New Yorker who spends much of his time traveling.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Lawrence Block's novels - and he has had several series using different characters - are never particularly action-filled. Oh, people get killed - in Block's "Keller" series a lot of people get killed - but he's not a graphic writer. In the Scudder series, Block writes in the first person, as Matt Scudder. Scudder is a retired cop, a recovering alcoholic, and an under-the-table private investigator. People hire him to "look into things". And as I wrote in my review of "Hard Stuff", most of the Scudder series touches on AA and it's Step program. "Hard Stuff" was heavily into it and this book, "Long Line" also uses AA as a plot point. But the focus of this story is on a club - a private, secret men's group that meets yearly at a steakhouse in New York. The "Club of 31" meets to mark the march of life and death. Every year they enjoy a good meal, good drinks, good conversation, and list the men who have died since the club was formed. Then, when the club is down to the last man living, he chooses 30 young men to start the march all over again. The old list of names is destroyed and a new list of names begins as the 30 age. A long line of dead men.Read more ›
It is then that, out of nowhere, Scudder's friend Mick Ballou brings up the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in a conversation. Mick reports that the names are "in no particular order," which isn't true -- they're listed in order of death. Mick says he booked a room in a "hotel across the street from the White House." The only hotel that fits that description is the Hay-Adams, across Lafayette park. Rooms at the luxurious Hay-Adams start at $300 a night -- a bit unusual for Mick Ballou, who is described as a brutal killer, a career criminal, and someone who drinks whiskey like water.
The sudden mention of the Wall is a plot device, of course, and Scudder later travels to Washington to check whether a certain name is on the wall. Of course, Scudder wouldn't have had to travel -- the Wall names are listed on the internet.
The dénouement is even worse. The group of respectable businessmen decides that the answer to their problems is to hold the killer in solitary confinement for life, in their own private jail cell, located on a small island in Lake Huron. The businessmen use the racist assumption that a "family of Cree Indians" who work as caretakers of the island will loyally and mutely participate in their conspiracy to kidnap and isolate the killer for life -- complete with a welded leg shackle.
The book started off well, but it really needs a different ending.
As a character, I found Scudder interesting, especially his background and his continuous battle with alcoholism. Like any good P.I., he inhabits the landscape around him (in this case, Manhattan) so well that he becomes part of the scenery. I also didn't mind the fact that he was involved in a stable relationship (often a weakness in other P.I. serieses. A classic P.I. ought to be a loner). His love interest is just quirky enough to add spice to the story and isn't used merely to give him a contrived vulnerability. Overall, the best compliment I can pay is that I don't expect that this will be my last encounter with Scudder.
Most recent customer reviews
This is an exemple of how to make a very good book from a good idea. This was my first Scudder's book and still one the very best.Published on June 19 2004 by Paulo Renato Rey
The premise is unusual - a secret society of businessmen, that started in ancient Babylon and has continued to this day. Read morePublished on June 16 2003 by Paul Skinner
I just read this for the second time, having run out of reading material, and enjoyed it again. Block is an excellent writer, making an interesting read in spite of an unlikely... Read morePublished on May 24 2003
If you like Scudder, you'll love this one. Lots of twists and turns that you don't expect. I recommend reading all the Scudder books from the beginning chronologically the way... Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2002 by Siobhan
Maybe, but the novel is still a wonderful one. Sure, Matt Scudder is getting older, so he's less active (like a dull razor). Read morePublished on May 15 2002 by Robert T.
Scudder has been sober for almost 10 years in this novel, and the trademark battle between himself and the bottle is more or less under control. Read morePublished on May 6 2002 by Robert T.
It's a good reading, but compared to the expectation concerning the title, it's actionless. The last 50 or 60 pages are very good, but the others are very slow. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2001 by Paulo Renato Rey
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. Read morePublished on Dec 2 1998 by Harold L. Laroff