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Sins Of The Father [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1991 Matthew Scudder Mysteries
The pretty young prostitute is dead. Her alleged murderer -- a minister's son -- hanged himself in his jail cell. The case is closed. But the dead girl's fatherhas come to Matthew Scudder for answers, sending the unlicensed private investigator in search of terrible truths about a life that was lived and lost in a sordid world of perversion and pleasures.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Block has been getting better and better in recent Matt Scudder novels, but as this first hardcover version of a 16-year-old paperback shows, he was pretty good from the start. King's admiring introduction is generous but by no means overstated. This tale, which introduced the then-hard-drinking ex-cop, is spare and lean and full of dark insights into lonesomeness and anguish. The father of murdered Wendy Hanniford comes to Scudder to try to find out more about his errant daughter--not to find her killer, who was apparently her living partner, a brittle young man who was found in the street raving and covered with her blood and who killed himself shortly after he was arrested. In his dour, methodical, oddly empathetic way, Scudder finds out a great deal, altering several lives in the process. As always in the Scudder books, New York City--its small-hours bars, its jokey, edgy encounters--is a major character; as in the later books, too, Block's style is admirable: free of gimmicks, plain but utterly telling in every line. This is a fine opportunity to get in on the start of what has become one of the most rewarding PI series currently in progress.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The 1976 paperback that introduced Block's melancholy, alcoholic shamus Matt Scudder finally gets a well-deserved hardcover edition--as well as a charming fan letter of an introduction from Stephen King. King pinpoints why the nine-book Scudder series (A Dance at the Slaughterhouse, 1991, etc.) is among mystery's most popular and finest: ``The absence of cats,'' i.e., ``tricks.'' As King says, Scudder is a ``pure'' detective who ``is real because his milieu is real.'' The fascinating ordinariness of Scudder and the harsh realness of his New York City arrive full force here as the p.i. is hired by a distraught father to look into the recent stabbing murder of his estranged daughter. Not to solve it, because the apparent killer, the girl's gay male roommate, has already been arrested--and punished: he's hung himself in his jail cell; but to find out more about the girl and why anyone would want to kill her. Scudder accepts the job reluctantly, as is his dour way, and during the course of his brief digging exhibits the sort of brave yet flawed behavior that sets him apart from other literary p.i.s: doggedly following the victim's trail down unexpected alleys as he learns that she was a moderately happy hooker who in fact was loved like a sister by her alleged killer; as he tithes 10% of his earnings to random churches; casts a cynical yet kindly eye on his fellow citizens; seeks release from the evil he finds in some through booze, the hired love of call-girl Elaine, and stunning bursts of violence, particularly against a mugger whose fingers he carefully snaps one by one. And, of course, Scudder turns up the real killer. Not as richly textured as most of the later cases, but, still, as haunting and mournful as the baying of a hound at the moon--and a must for Block/Scudder fans. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 18 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Block is always good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alcohol attracts depressives Feb. 21 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Matt Scudder is still drinking in this yarn. He is an ex-cop and is not a licensed private investigator. He does favors for people. A father wants him to find out why his daughter died. He had not been in contact with her for three years. Scudder is no longer a police officer because he has lost faith. A ricochet bullet targeted at miscreants killed an innocent child.
Reviewing the records with the help of his police contacts, Matt concludes that it seems to be case of a murder suicide, the suicide taking place while the murderer was in custody. The persons involved in the crime were roommates. Richard Vanderpoel was a minister's son. He was employed as a clerk in the antiques business. Scudder sees the attorney who visited Richard at the Tombs. Richard's father is tall and rail thin.
Scudder arranges to see a former roommate of the victim. The victim, Wendy, is described as having a little girl quality. Both Richard and Wendy played out patterns in life representing relationships with and the loss of parents.
Scudder books depict the consequences of caring about people's fate too much. What results is a sense of exhaustion, a sense of loss. This volume follows the pattern.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly So-so May 25 2003
By snalen
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Zero stars first of all to Athena Gassoumis for the awful author's photograph: "Ok Larry, Now I want you to do a PENETRATING STARE." Oh please.
The book is better but certainly not brilliant. Matthew Scudder is an ex cop dabbling in private detective work, a fairly nasty piece of work with an unattractive taste for brutality, bullying and vigilante DIY justice. The case he investigates is intriguing enough to keep a reader turning the pages though the denoument is of a somewhat disappointing banality and wins no prizes for credibility. The story is efficiently told but the only characters in which the author begins to succeed rendering very vivid or interesting are the two deceased.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seamless Scudder March 16 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first in the Matt Scudder series and, having read most of the other books already, I can tell. It's fresh and original, unlike most of the newer and exhausted Scudder novels. I won't discuss the plot, since you can get the gist from the back of the book and anything else would be a spoiler, but the case is pretty simple. Scudder digs into a closed-case homicide and finds more than meets the eye. I won't say the mystery is especially difficult to figure out ahead of time, but Block's novels usually aren't. The value of the book, like most of the others, is in Scudder's battle with alcoholism, his shallow personal connections, and his dark cynicism. This is one of the best, but there are lots of other Scudder novels that hit the mark, including Ticket to the Boneyard, Out on the Cutting Edge, and A Stab in the Dark to name a few. As the series goes on, however, it gets slower and less interesting. These initial books, however, are great and introduce us to one of the most memorable hard-boiled P.I.'s ever to walk the streets of New York.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Where It All Began June 25 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book serves as a means of introducing Matt Scudder to us. We learn that, while he works as a private detective, he's not licensed and will do investigative work in return for "gifts". We find out why he left the police force and the bulk of his personal life. We also find out that he's rarely without a drink in his hand. Apart from the character introduction, we are treated to a mystery that firstly, is more than it first appears, and secondly, displays Scudder's dogged determination perfectly.
To start off the Matt Scudder series, he is asked by a man to investigate why his daughter was murdered. Not how, not who, but why. Her killer was her male room-mate who subsequently hanged himself in his prison cell after he was arrested. The father just wants to know why she died to set his own mind at rest.
This is not a terrifically complex thriller that involves a lot of action sequences, rather it's a gritty hardboiled mystery that gradually uncovers facts while we get to know the protagonist. It serves it's purpose well as an introduction to the series and promises to hook you as a Matt Scudder fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner Jan. 13 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I got two Lawrence Block books at the same time, this one and Hit List. Of the two, I liked this one better. All I can say is, I'll be reading the next one in the series and hope to get hooked.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner Jan. 13 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I got two Lawrence Block books at the same time, this one and Hit List. Of the two, I liked this one better. All I can say is, I'll be reading the next one in the series and hope to get hooked.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A good begining for a great series
With the 15th Matthew Scudder book due out December 2001 from Lawrence Block, I thought it would be a good time to re-read all of the initial 14, beginning with this, the first in... Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2001 by Tom Bruce
4.0 out of 5 stars Scudder's debut is a bit tame
In the mid-1970s, P.I. Matthew Scudder was a lot differnt than the man he would come to be. In his series debut, Scudder has not yet admitted that he has an alcohol problem. Read more
Published on March 3 2001 by Brian D. Rubendall
5.0 out of 5 stars Spare, elegantly written neo-noir
The first Matthew Scudder novel impressed me with its fine, spare writing that sketches the outline of the characters and and then lets their action fill in details. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2001 by N. Quast
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, prepetual words take reader on a superficial ride
While the novel has its moments, it surely was not what gave Lawrence Block his big name. The plot is very "on the surface" and quick, possibly too quick. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 1999 by CRC
5.0 out of 5 stars Scudder Debut is a Smashing Success
Lawrence Block's first Matthew Scudder novel, THE SINS OF THE FATHERS, is a superlative debut that sparkles and fascinates with breathtaking writing skill of the highest order.
Published on June 26 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The first of 14 in the Matthew Scudder series...a winner!
. 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 more
Published on Dec 22 1998 by Harold L. Laroff
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