A Dance At The Slaughterhouse Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 1992
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Matt Scudder, the recovering alcoholic private eye from The Devil Knows You're Dead and A Ticket to the Boneyard, embarks on another descent into the nightmarish quarters of New York, this time to investigate the sex-for-sale industry. Hired by the brother of an heiress to investigate her rape and murder, Scudder tails her husband to a boxing match and notices another man whom he saw on video a few months earlier on a different case involving a snuff film. As Scudder calls on old friends for assistance and tours New York's dark physical and social landscapes, Block masterfully builds the pressure that leads Scudder to the violent resolution in this winner of the 1992 Edgar Award for best mystery novel.
From Publishers Weekly
Block masterfully builds the pressure in this Edgar Award winner, as newly sober Manhattan PI Matt Scudder investigates the death of a TV producer's wife.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
So what's so good about Scudder? He's a great character for one thing. He's a recovering alcoholic, a detective without a license, a former cop who left his wife and kids. And he's got some of the seediest friends you'll ever meet. An albino pimp. Mick Ballou, a bar owner who kills people. A high-classed prostitute girlfriend. Then there's T.J., his street-smart partner with a facility for computers.
Scudder walks or takes the subway wherever he goes. He putters around, drinking coffee, going to AA meetings, donating money to the church (any church) when he gets paid for a case. He never seems to make any progress, but his perambulations give us a chance to see New York. Then he finds a tiny thread here, another there, and before we know he's cooking with gas.
In A DANCE AT THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE Scudder takes on the Amanda Thurman murder case. After attending a small dinner party on Central Park West, Richard and Amanda Thurman return to their brownstone on West Fifty-second Street, only to be confronted by burglars who draw guns and herd them into their apartment. They steal his watch, wallet, and Amanda's jewelry, beat Richard, tie him up and tape his mouth; then they rape his wife in front of him. Richard manages to knock the phone off the table, free the tape from his mouth, and call 911. But his wife is dead.Read more ›
Block's Scudder series is almost unique among P.I. fiction in that it is able to maintain its edge even as its hero goes through significant life changes. His continuing battle with the bottle provides an added tension that stays in the background like a predator ready to pounce. Overall, this is one of the best Scudder novels and a must read for P.I. fiction fans.
I believe that Dance at the Slaughterhouse is the most powerful and interesting of all of Block's work (with perhaps the exception of a few of the short stories). However, i should add that Dance is certainly not a book to everyone's tastes. It's quite intense.
One aspect of Block's career that i appreciate is the diversity of his talents. The Burglar mysteries and the Tanner mysteries in particular are entertaining in the extreme. The Burglar books fascinate me because of their literary references; the Tanner books because of their political insights. But the Scudder books fascinate me because of their insights about the character of human beings. Consequently, they are often a bit more emotinoally taxing on the reader.
In Dance, Block plumbs the depths to get at some of the complicated relationships between human desire and drives towards violence toward the self as well as against others (and, not incidentally, also to get at the complicated structure that involves the tensions between love and violence as contrary expressions of desire). There's a hard-edge to this work as a consequence.
So while i highly recommend this book, i do so with the qualification that some of Block's other works might be more suitable to some readers (and even most of the other Scudder mysteries are less challenging).
Most recent customer reviews
I started reading Lawrence Block a few years ago and I have grown to really appreciate his Matthew Scudder books. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2001 by Joseph A. Hines
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 morePublished on Dec 21 1998 by Harold L. Laroff