The Devil Knows You're Dead Hardcover – Large Print, Mar 2001
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There's a new trend afoot in the series mystery. Mickey Spillane, Nero Wolfe, Sherlock Holmes, and their investigating cohorts seldom changed from book to book. Part of their appeal, in fact, was their consistency. Contemporary series authors, however, such as Bill Pronzini, Robert P. Parker, Joseph Hansen, and Lawrence Block, have taken the series character a step further, allowing growth and change to occur to the hard-boiled hero just as they do to ordinary mortals. Block's recovering alcoholic Matt Scudder is a perfect example. Once isolated by guilt, angst, and booze, Scudder was the quintessential loner. Now, as his never-ending recovery continues, his world has begun to expand. He has a true friend in Mick Ballou, a sidekick in street urchin T. J., and a lover in former hooker Elaine. Hired by the brother of a mentally handicapped vet accused of the murder of attorney Glenn Holtzmann, Scudder finds that the victim was both less and more than he appeared to be. Much to his surprise--because he loves Elaine--Scudder becomes involved with Holtzmann's widow. The resolution of the case is a logical surprise that will leave readers contemplating an indifferent universe. Though Scudder's world is as bleak as it's ever been, he's letting a little sun shine through. It's nice to see a friend happy. Wes Lukowsky --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
Mysteries of the heart eclipse those of the street in Matt Scudder's quietly compelling new case, which finds the p.i. avoiding the wrenching physical violence of his last few outings (A Walk Among the Tombstones, etc.) but falling prey to all sorts of emotional havoc. The crime on which Block hangs Scudder's latest study in angst is the apparent shooting death of attorney Glenn Holtzmann by deranged homeless vet George Sadecki. Despite strong evidence of Sadecki's guilt, the accused's brother hires Scudder to look into the case--which the unlicensed p.i. does, discovering that Holtzmann, far from being a clean-cut yuppie, was actually a professional rat for various federal agencies and may have been slain by one of his targets. Scudder's gumshoeing is dogged but not very exciting--lots of phone calls and interviews--and serves mostly to put him in contact with old series regulars and one likely new one, a sympathetic transvestite, as well as with Holtzmann's widow, with whom he starts an affair despite his commitment to longtime girlfriend Elaine: The widow proves as addictive as booze and in fact may drive Scudder back to drink, especially if he keeps indulging in moody midnight gabfests with Irish gangster Mick Ballou and brooding over a WW I poem about breaking faith with those who've died. Meanwhile, in an equally introspective subplot, Scudder's old flame Jan Keane is dying of cancer and asks Scudder to get her a suicide-gun, which he does. Will she choose life, however painful, instead of the bullet's oblivion? Will Scudder resist the bottle and widow and do the same? The murder finally resolves through a quirk of fate: Can Scudder command his own fate? Those who can take or leave Scudder will probably leave this gathering of shadows: loyalists, though, will hang on every word as Scudder makes his fascinatingly uncertain way through an increasingly uncertain world. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
All of this accompanies a mystery that is interesting in and of itself, but not nearly as menacing as most Scudder mysteries. The recurring charater of the street kid TJ also shows some progression in his life during the story while assisting Scudder's investigation. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this novel as the place to start reading Scudder since to truly enjoy it requires a lot of the previous background of the characters. But for those who already know how good the Scudder novels are it is a must read.
Most recent customer reviews
A great romp and knocking on doors by telephone! Great to enjoy TJ in the mix again. Such an interesting character!Published 1 month ago by Dr. Ellsworth LeDrew
Captivating story .. this one will keep you burning the midnight oil and turning those pages. Lots of Mick Ballou in this one .. personally, I love Mick. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2002 by Siobhan
I did not chose this book, it was required for a writer's workshop. When I sit down to read a detective novel I expect it to be about detecting. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2002
I've enjoyed crime novels written by various authors for many years. This was the first book I read by Lawrence Block and it's still my favorite of his, which would make it my... Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2001 by Roadside
I agree with "quinton"; this is a great book, one of Block's best. As a recovering alcoholic myself, I find Scudder's travails all too real. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 1997 by firstname.lastname@example.org