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Random Walk Paperback

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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A remarkable look at humanity, spirituality, and the growth Sept. 29 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Guthry, a bartender, determines one day that it's time to take a walk. And remarkable things begin to happen. He finds his walking comes easy to him, and as time goes on, he starts to meet people, who join him on his journey. On a seperate plotline, Mark, a successful young businessmen, starts a string of horrific strangulations, and seems to live a perfect, if frightening life. The story weaves the plotlines together; the walkers, guided by Sara, a young woman who is going blind as she sees inwardly, are experiencing healings and amazing instances of endurance. The meeting with other walkers, and the revealed purpose will bring a warm feeling to your heart.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Unusual, enthralling, compelling Dec 11 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I usually try to avoid the use of personal pronouns in writing my reviews, but Random Walk is not a book one can discuss without revealing one's feelings. First, let me express my happiness that PS Publishing has chosen to bring this extraordinary book back into print--it's the kind of book that makes you think, the kind that gives you hope, the kind that helps achieve an instantaneous, strong connection between those who have read it if it comes up in a conversation (which it has many times, at least for this reviewer). The mere mention of the title brings a smile to each participant's face, triggering pleasant shared memories. The enthusiastic conversation that ensues is peppered with many sentences starting with, "Wasn't it great when..." or, "I liked the part when..." and usually ends in mutual agreement that Block was on fire when he wrote it.

The novel proceeds from a simple premise--one day, ordinary guy Guthrie Wagner sets out on a walk, with little idea of where he's going or why he feels compelled to do so. As he walks, people from all races and walks of life join him, again for no other reason than that they feel it is the right thing to do. As the group grows, wondrous things start to happen, causing the walkers to wonder if they are not part of something bigger, whether there's a deeper reason why they have been brought together in this manner. Their journey to discover their purpose occupies the rest of the book, which is filled with surprises galore, and also with a sense of looming disaster, as their path seems destined to cross with that of a prolific serial killer, whose grim story occupies another track of the novel.

I won't gush any more about this book, one of Block's most unusual, enthralling and compelling tales--noted SF writer Spider Robinson does an excellent job of this in his insightful introduction, which opens with the words, "Welcome to one of the most glorious journeys ever undertaken." I can't recommend this book highly enough--I think you will enjoy it, and suspect it will stay with you long after you turn the last page, just as it has for the last twenty years with Mr. Robinson and me.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A witty send-up of the New Age Movement Nov. 6 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Random Walk, Lawrence Block's brilliant send-up of the New Age movement, is as funny and relevant today as it was when first published in 1988. Block takes the New Age movement for a ride -- make that a walk -- and dumps its body in a dark alley (where Matt Scudder just may stumble on it some dark and rainy night). In this witty novel, an Oregon bartender decides to go for a walk one day, and winds up attracting a rag-tag band of fellow travelers who hike across the country with him, crossing paths with a vicious serial killer. A must read for Block fans and those new to the author as well.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
one of Block's worst Aug. 31 2010
By W. Frederick Zimmerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lawrence Block is a great writer and, in his autobiography, Step by Step, he says that this is one of his favorite books and that he wrote it in a burst of energy in two weeks straight. Unfortunately, only the latter makes sense. This just isn't a very good book.

It is severely handicapped by a completely absurd line of silly mystic mumbo-jumbo that propels its characters on their "walk." They are boring because there is no conflict. They join the walk, they experience a miracle cure, they all get along. The other half of the book is from the point of view of a prolific serial killer. He is not boring, but he sure is super creepy, so much so that it's hard to enjoy the book.

The Kindle formatting is fine, no issues.

Skip this one unless you are a New Age loon, a serial killer, or a Block completist.
Hard to believe that this is Block, but I finished it anyway! May 13 2015
By Professor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a fan who has read most all of Block's novels, I can't imagine what he was thinking when he wrote this one. Was he satirizing or doing a take-off on Stephen King's _The Stand_, published about 10 years earlier? Was he having some some kind of humanistic, let's-all-hold-hands-and-sing-"Kumbaya" mid-life crisis? Or was he just writing something absurd for the fun of it?

By 1988, Block was a well-established crime writer, having already published several of the Matt Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr books, not to mention the Tanner books, which go back to the 1960's. Those books are realistic and cynical, in the tradition of noir fiction, but with Block's trademark black humor and witty dialogue..This book is such a departure, it's hard to believe that we're reading Block.

To make things even weirder, the psycho-sexual serial killer in this book is sicker and more despicable that any character Block has ever written. The violence is gruesome, just over the top. This man, whose characterization can only be called one-dimensional, has brutally raped and murdered 100 women, and his "forgiveness" in the conclusion just doesn't work--in any imaginable context.

This book could be titled _Larry Block Smokes Some Pot and Takes a Couple of Weeks Off_ (He wrote it in two weeks at a writer's retreat). I sometimes wonder if he was laughing all the way through the writing of this book. But I could be wrong. Maybe he just wanted to try something different.

Why am I giving it 3 stars? Because it's Lawrence Block. The man can write. If you're a collector of certain authors, you'll read everything they published, including some of their lesser works. Most all of Blocks's peers--Robert Parker, Ed McBain, Donald Westlake, Charles Willeford, Bill Pronzini--wrote occasional books that weren't exactly home runs.

So if you're a Block fan, I can't say you'll be disappointed with this novel. You'll just be puzzled.

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