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The Sins of the Fathers [Audio Cassette]

Lawrence Block , Alan Sklar
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2000 Matthew Scudder Mysteries
A pretty young girl is butchered in her Greenwich Village apartment. The prime suspect, a minister's son, is found dead in his jail cell and as far as the NYPD is concerned the case is closed. Matt Scudder, an ex-cop who now does "favours for friends', is persuaded to lookinto the case by the dead girl's father. Suddenly he's up to his neck in sleaze and corruption, phoney religious cults and murderous lust. In New York's underbelly the children have no choice but to pay the price for their parent's most unspeakable sins.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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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.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
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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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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3.0 out of 5 stars A good begining for a great series Aug. 18 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 the line. It's interesting to note that unlike many other extended series, Scudder holds true to the initial details set down by the author. He is not yet an admitted alcoholic, but the signs are beginning to show. He is willing to bend the law to suit his own set of moral values, which he has forever continued to do. There is a personal violence in this initial episode which is more self-controlled later on, but it is a progression that is realistic. There are a few unnecessary pages introducing the Elaine character which has nothing what-so-ever to do with this mystery and seems like simple filler to make the book an appropriate length. But, in future books, Elaine becomes a major participant. Could it be that Block already had her future role mapped out for her when he wrote this first book? The mystery isn't that good, I had it somewhat figured out about two-thirds into the story. But the grisly details are vividly described, the dialogue is hard boiled, and there is a feel for the locale that has become a trademark of the Scudder books. If you are Scudder fan, this is a must read. But, on whole, it is a little weak and maybe why Block himself suggests you read another book in the series first -- possible to better whet your appetite for more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Scudder's debut is a bit tame March 2 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. Lawrence Block introduces us to the man who quit the NYPD because he just wasn't up to being a cop anymore. Scudder's first case (literary case, anyway) is fairly conventional by the standards of the series. Scudder is hired by the estranged father of a murdered girl not to find the killer, who is already dead, but so the father can begin to understand her life. The story is brief, clocking in at only 186 easy to read pages in trade paperback form. It has little of the narrative complexity that would later serve Block so well. And, you can see the ending coming well before it gets there. Nevertheless, it is still stylish noir with the right mixture of loniliness, cynicism and despair. And as with all Scudder novels, the actual violence is kept to a relative minimum. Overall, not Scudder's best but worth it for fans of the series.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Block is always good.
Published 3 months ago by E. Stepko
3.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly So-so
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. Read more
Published on May 25 2003 by snalen
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner
I got two Lawrence Block books at the same time, this one and Hit List. Of the two, I liked this one better. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2002 by Rahmani Vanterpool
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner
I got two Lawrence Block books at the same time, this one and Hit List. Of the two, I liked this one better. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2002 by Rahmani Vanterpool
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 21 1998 by Harold L. Laroff
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