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Sins introduced Lawrence Block's greatest character, the unofficial private eye, Matthew Scudder. A former police officer who accidentally shot and killed a young girl while making an off-duty arrest, Matt carries the hard-drinking detective to its logical extreme by being a genuine alcoholic. As the series opens he's still in reasonable control, mainly maintenance drinking a mixture of bourbon and coffee that he sure makes sound good. He's left his wife and sons on Long Island and moved into a hotel in the City. He "does favors for friends" since he isn't licensed. And besides the drinking and the self-imposed isolation, he demonstrates his guilt by tithing ten percent of his earnings to the churches he frequents for reasons unclear to himself.

Here he's hired to help a father understand what went wrong in the life of the daughter who was recently brutally murdered by her gay roommate, who then hung himself in his jail cell after confessing. The title suggests a tad too much of what follows, but the novels are more about Scudder and his demons than the mysteries he takes on anyway. This one's a fine start to the series.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A-)

  

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Private Eyes
Lawrence Block Links:

    -AUTHOR WEBSITE: LawrenceBlock.com
    -AUTHOR PAGE: Lawrence Block (Harper Collins)
    -WIKIPEDIA: Lawrence Block
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Lawrence Block (IMDB)
    -Authors and Creators: Lawrence Block (Thrilling Detective)
    -Matt Scudder: Created by Lawrence Block (Thrilling Detective)
    -GOOGLE BOOKS: Lawrence Block
    -ESSAY: GREENWICH VILLAGE: GLORYING IN ITS DIFFERENTNESS; For 300 Years, A World Apart (Lawrence Block, 11/20/1988, NY Times Magazine)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: A Tale of Pulp and Passion: The Jim Thompson Revival (Lawrence Block, October 14, 1990, NY Times Book Review)
    -EXCERPT: from Hope to Die by Lawrence Block
    -ESSAY: Watching the Detective: Sherlock Holmes lives on—in fan societies, annotated versions, and new adventures (Lawrence Block, March 22nd 2005, Village Voice)
    -INTERVIEW: NO GORE, PLEASE - THEY'RE BRITISH: with PD James and Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, October 9, 1988, NY Times Book Review)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Lawrence Block (Fresh Air, December 20, 1995, NPR)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Lawrence Block (Fresh Air, January 31, 1997, NPR)
    -INTERVIEW: Audio Interview with Lawrence Block (Don Swaim, 1984, Wired for Books)
    -PROFILE:Lawrence Block retraces his life one step at a time (Bob Minzesheimer, 5/20/09, USA TODAY)
    -PROFILE: Lawrence Block (Bookreporter)
    -PROFILE: A writer's life: Lawrence Block: The crime writer tells William Leith he has considered breaking the law for his characters (William Leith, 04 Jul 2004, Daily Telegraph)
    -INTERVIEW: Talking Mystery With Lawrence Block (Claire E. White, October 1999, Writers Write)
    -INTERVIEW: An Interview with Lawrence Block (BookSlut, February 2006)
    -INTERVIEW: A Year on the Block (Kevin Burton Smith, January)
    -ESSAY: Booze & private eyes: A pair since the days of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. (Sarah Weinman, November 25, 2007, LA Times)
    -ESSAY: Last Call for Matthew Scudder's Favorite Saloon (DENNY LEE, October 6, 2002, NY Times)
    -PROFILE: Tough Times For Crime And Its Writer (DAVID GONZALEZ, February 5, 1997, NY Times)
    -PROFILE: Lawrence Block is a Hit again (Oline Cogdill, June 23, 2008, Orlando Sun-Sentinel)
    -VIDEO INTERVIEW: This is a Guest of Honor Interview of author Lawrence Block (Charles Ardai, Bouchercon 2008)
    -ESSAY: Introduction to Cinderella Sims (Ed Gorman, Mystery File)
    -INTERVIEW: LAWRENCE BLOCK: talks to Shots about his latest novel, Small Town (interviewed by Ali Karim, Shots)
    -INTERVIEW: Sense of the City: New York (BBC, 8/06/03)
    -VIDEO: 2004 National Book Festival - Lawrence Block
    -PROFILE: The race to the finish line: A talk with bestselling mystery writer Lawrence Block about his career, his obsession with racewalking and his legacy when he's gone. (Sarah Weinman, June 7, 2009, LA Times)
    -DISCUSSION: Author Roundtable (Jon Meacham, 7/13/09, Newsweek)
    -PROFILE: Tribute to Lawrence Block (David J. Montgomery, March 2005, Mystery Ink)
    -INTERVIEW: Lawrence Block Interview (Craig McDonald, November 13, 2007, CrimeSpace)
    -ESSAY: Diamond Geezer : An Appreciation of the work of Lawrence Block (Simon Kernick, Shots Mag)
    -AWARD: Mystery Writers Give Top Honor to Block (NY Times, April 28, 1994)
    -AWARD: The CWA CARTIER DIAMOND DAGGER 2004
    -ARCHIVES: Lawrence Block (Ex Libris)
    -ARCHIVES: Lawrence Block (Tangled Web)
    -ARCHIVES: Lawrence Block (NY Times)
    -ARCHIVES: Lawrence Block (SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of A Stab in the Dark by Lawrence Block [1986] (Newgate Callendar, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block [1982] (John Leonard, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Eight Million Ways to Die (Saul Relative, Associated Content)
    -REVIEW: of When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block [1986] (Newgate Callendar, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Out on the Cutting Edge by Lawrence Block [1989] (Gar Anthony Haywood, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of A Dance at the Slaughterhouse by Lawrence Block [1991] (Teresa Carpenter, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block [1992] (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of A Long Line of Dead Men by Lawrence Block [1994] (David Willis McCullough, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of A Long Line of Dead Men by Lawrence Block [1994] (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Devil Knows You're Dead by Lawrence Block [1994] (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Even the Wicked by Lawrence Block [1997] (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Everybody Dies by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Hope to Die by Lawrence Block [2005] (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Hope to Die (American Way)
    -REVIEW: of Hope to Die (Harriet Waugh, The Spectator)
    -REVIEW: of Hope to Die (Michael Helfand, Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
    -REVIEW: of All the Flowers are Dying by Lawrence Block [2005] (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of All the Flowers are Dying (Hagen Baye, Mostly Fiction)
    -REVIEW: of All the Flowers (Jack Kerridge, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of All the Flowers are Dying (Cath Staincliffe, Tangled Web)
    -REVIEW: of All the Flowers are Dying (Ali Karim, January)
    -REVIEW: of All the Flowers are Dying (Michael Helfand, Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
    -REVIEW: of All the Flowers (Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter)
    -REVIEW: of Grifter's Game by Lawrence Block [1961] (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Killing Castro by Lawrence Block (Jana L. Perskie, Mostly Fiction)
    -REVIEW: of Killing Castro (Mel Odom, BlogCritics)
    -REVIEW: of The Affairs of Chip Harrison by Lawrence Block (John Raftery, RTE)
    -REVIEW: of The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza by Lawrence Block (NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Random Walk by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Some Days You Get the Bear by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Burglar Who Thought He was Bogart by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Burglar in the Library by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Hit Man by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Tanner on Ice by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Tanner on Ice (Suzette Lalime, Salon)
    -REVIEW: of Tanner on Ice (Michael Helfand, Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
    -REVIEW: of Burglar in the Rye by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Burglar in the Rye (Jennifer Monahan Winberry, Mystery Reader)
    -REVIEW: of Hit List by Lawrence Block (Peter Gutteridge, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of Hit List (The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Hit Man by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Small Town by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Small Town (Maxim Jakubowski, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Small Town (Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Burglar on the Prowl by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Hit Parade by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Hit Parade (Matthew Lewin, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Hit Parade (Susanna Yager, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Burglar in the Closet by Lawrence Block (Janet Kay Blaylock, Suite101)
    -REVIEW: of Lucky at Cards by Lawrence Block (Bill Sherman, BlogCritics)
    -REVIEW: of Hit and Run by Lawrence Block (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Hit and Run by Lawrence Block (Lisa Solod Warren, Blog Critics)
    -REVIEW: of Hit and Run (Otto Penzler, NY Sun)
    -REVIEW: of Enough Rope by Lawrence Block (Kevin Burton Smith, January)
    -REVIEW: of Step by Step by Lawrence Block (Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVES: Lawrence Block (Mostly Fiction)

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