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Such Men Are Dangerous [Paperback]

Lawrence Block
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 1993
Having secluded himself on an uninhabited island in the Florida Keys, a world-weary former Green Beret gets an offer to steal a shipment of tactical nuclear weapons from the U.S. Army. He finds himself a partner--a trained killer--and together the two are unstoppable.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A former Green Beret attempts to steal a shipment of nuclear weapons from the U.S. Army.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Lawrence Block, a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, is a four–time winner of the Edgar and Shamus Awards. He is the author of more than fifty books, among them the Matthew Scudder mysteries Eight Million Ways to Die, The Sins of the Fathers, and A Stab in the Dark.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best April 27 2000
Format:Paperback
My expectations were too high given Mr. Block's consistent quality of writing in every other work I've read. I thought this was a little to Clancy-esque a plotline (the writing was still character driven though), and the protagonist, an ex-Green Beret who's psyche is supposed to be interestingly off kilter, was maybe a bit too complex a character for Block to portray early in his writing career. Nevertheless, I'd recommend it for killing a few hours on a plane.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard Boiled Block Dec 11 2007
By Jeff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
SMAD is an early Block work. In it, the development of his sparse writing style, quick turning plots, and complex alienated protagonist is already well formed. The plot seems a bit far-fetched but he has great fun with it it as the ball starts rolling.

This is a work for fans who want to see the early Block in action. His later works are vastly better developed and more sophisticated. That said, it is interesting to see what he was like in his early days. If you like reading some of Ed McBain's early 87th Precinct novels and seeing how his work developed, you'll get the same sort of kick here.

If you're new to Block, go pick up 'Like a Lamb to the Slaughter', 'Eight Million Ways to Die', or 'When the Sacred Ginmill Closes'. These are all works of true refinement in the crime genre.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Block's early novels May 25 2008
By Douglas J. Bassett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Easily the best of Block's early novels, far better than the very routine stuff Hard Case has been unearthing (LUCKY AT CARDS, GRIFTER'S GAME, GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART). A relatively straightforward -- though interestingly presented -- heist novel, it really rises above due to it's protagonist, a genuine psychotic who yet, in a strange way, is not unsympathetic.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Military noir provides character study Sept. 23 2007
By Ed Lynskey, - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lawrence Block wrote this military noir early in his writing career about Paul Kavanagh, an ex-Green Beret who retires from the trade. What's interesting is that Paul falls in love with his solitary, Crusoe-like life on a deserted Florida Keys island. George Dattner hunts up Paul and they plot to steal a shipment of nuclear weapons from the military in the Dakotas. Paul tells their caper in a low-keyed, conversational manner. He gets so far in, you're left wondering if he'll ever get back to his island paradise a million dollars richer. This novel is a brisk read, and one of the better retired-from-the-trade crime books. Don't expect flashy descriptions and over-the-top plotlines. Mr. Block is interested in his protagonist first.
3.0 out of 5 stars Ex-commando Reluctantly Goes On One Last Mission Sept. 18 2014
By Dave Wilde - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
“Such Men Are Dangerous” is a 1969 stand-alone novel by Lawrence Block, although the original byline is by Paul Kavanagh. It is the story of a former ex-commando who completed his service in the Vietnam War, was rejected for a job by the CIA, found his calling as a Robinson Crusoe type guy on a tiny shack on a tiny Florida key with no social connections and nothing to do but fish, and is called out of his self-imposed retirement for one last job as a CIA-contractor to save the country from bad guys getting their hands on nuclear goodies. It is a sort of Robinson Crusoe meets James Bond meets Rambo kind of book. It took about a quarter to a third of the way through before the reader is given the meat of the story. Much of the first part of the book feels aimless and disconnected. Although somewhat interesting, you wonder what the point of the story is and where it is going until George Dattner finds Kavanagh on the small island and explains what the job is. It was quite a popular thing for authors in the late sixties, early seventies, to write spy novels or ex-commando soldier of fortune tales and this was Block’s foray into this genre. In the end, it was just okay.
4.0 out of 5 stars Such books are entertaining Sept. 20 2012
By mrliteral - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first was introduced to Lawrence Block through his column for Writer's Digest back in the 1980s; it was obvious that he knew the mechanics of good fiction writing, but did that mean he was actually a good writer? As I quickly found out, first with his Matt Scudder books and then his other works, he is not only a good writer, he sometimes is even a great one.

Until the Scudder books, Block was not really a big name, getting by more on volume of work rather than bestsellers. Such Men are Dangerous was written during this period in his career. This was orignally pseudonymously written by the main character, Paul Kavanagh, an ex-soldier who, as the book opens, is rejected for employment from the CIA.

The reason, Agency employee George Dattner explains, is that Kavanagh is too much of an independent thinker. With no other interesting opportunities, Kavanagh retires to a deserted island in the Florida Keys and enjoys the life of a hermit. All goes well until Dattner returns with a caper to steal some military weapons and sell them to a willing buyer for two million dollars. Eventually, Kavanagh agrees and the plot really kicks in.

I doubt even Block (who in an afterword, describes how he cranked out the book in just a few days) would consider this one of his best works, but it is still entertaining. Kavanagh, in some ways a completely apathetic character, is nonetheless interesting if somewhat nastier than many Block protagonists (even likeable assassin Keller). There's enough twists and cleverness to make this a fun if not classic read.
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