Time to Murder and Create by Lawrence Block

Posted March 8, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Pulp / 0 Comments

Time to Murder and Create by Lawrence BlockTitle: Time to Murder and Create (Goodreads)
Author: Lawrence Block
Series: Matt Scudder #2
Published: Orion, 1976
Pages: 170
Genres: Pulp
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Matthew Scudder is back and this time a small-time stoolie named Jake “The Spinner” Jablon has come to him for help. This informer has found a new line of business in blackmail but now one of his clients has figured it was better to kill than keep paying for his silence. After an attempt on his life goes wrong, The Spinner turns to Scudder to be his avenging angel if he ever does wind up dead. Only problem is when he eventually was found floating in the river, Scudder had to work out just who finally caught up to The Spinner and killed him.

Having just finished War and Peace (a review that is quite difficult to write) I felt the need to read something quick and easy. The Matthew Scudder series is just that, 1970’s hard-boiled with a gritty and fast paced style to it. Scudder is a former New York Police officer who now does ‘favours’ for people as he isn’t a licenced Private Investigator. One of the things I really like about Lawrence Block’s hard-boiled detective is the fact that there are signs that he isn’t what he claims to be. It’s revealed that Scudder was a corrupt cop and you can see the corruption start to seep into his PI work. Hard-Boiled characters normally walk that fine line between good and evil but with Matthew Scudder I get the sense that he can’t walk a straight line.

You might have noticed that I’ve been trying to write critical reviews lately but when it comes to a book like Time to Murder and Create it is hard to have in-depth criticism. This is pure escapism, a quick and entertaining read full of dark gritty characters that all have a secret to keep.  Like In the Midst of Death, Time to Murder and Create wasn’t as good as The Sins of the Fathers, the series started off strong but now it feels like those crime shows on TV where there is just a new case every time and nothing new or exciting.

If I ever need a quick easy palate cleaner, then I might return to the Matthew Scudder because sometimes you need mindless entertainment. I have an idea of what I would like to see with this character but I don’t think they will go in that direction. Sometimes I wish I had the skills to write a hard-boiled crime series, just because they are fun to read and I have never found a series that lived up to the excitement of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series and I’m frustrated enough to want to create my own. If anyone has a recommendation for a great hard-boiled crime series, please let me know.

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