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Gritty writing, but not much drama for a Scudder
on September 3, 2003
Let me preface by saying I'm a huge Scudder fan, so the three star rating is compared to the entirety of the Scudder saga. In this entry, the clean and ostensibly happily domesticated Scudder is hired by a vagrant's brother to clear the vagrant of a shooting. The victim happens to be a distant acquaintance of Scudder's, and though Matt didn't like the guy much, he ends up having a desultory kind of affair with his widow. Meanwhile the accused killer is himself killed in prison, leaving a stubborn Scudder to attack the closed case (or as his cop friend puts it, "trying to give a dead horse mouth-to-mouth resuscitation" --- love that noir dialogue). This is only an average Scudder entry, which means that it's a bleak look at a seedy world, rife with witty dialogue and sharp insights into AA philosophy. Probably because the case here is so cold, however, a lot of drama in the sense of personal danger or action is lacking. There's much of the traditional amoral, detatched soul-searching, which is terrific, but none of the rough justice Scudder usually hands out.