Tag: Matthew Scudder

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.


In the Midst of Death by Lawrence Block

Posted March 14, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Pulp / 0 Comments

In the Midst of Death by Lawrence BlockTitle: In the Midst of Death (Goodreads)
Author: Lawrence Block
Series: Matt Scudder #3
Published: Orion, 1976
Pages: 182
Genres: Pulp
My Copy: Personal Copy

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

Private investigator Matt Scudder is back. This time he is on the case for NYPD cop Jerry Broadfield. While Broadfield was never going to be known as a pillar of society he was (mostly) an honest cop. But he seems to have rattled a few cages, mainly from the crook cops on the force. Now he is being set up.

Because The Sins of the Fathers was so short and I enjoyed it so much I went right into In the Midst of Death. Something I never do and that is normally because I never like to get entrenched in an author or a genre, so I always mix it up. But also because I find there are small elements that can become repetitive if you go from one book in a series to the next. While this is book three (which I originally thought was book two) Lawrence Block covers the same important information about Matthew Scudder; which is good for people reading out of order but jumping straight into this one after the first book, it felt more like a copy/paste job.

Unlicensed Private investigator is truly shaping into a great character  and even though I’ve read two books in the series so quickly and one after the other, I still want to read more, which is a real testament to Lawrence Block’s writing skills. I love Scudder’s cynical attitude and his reluctance to work; he is truly a great hard-boiled protagonist in the making.

Corruption is a tricky game and while you are meant to hate Jerry Broadfield it is interesting the way Scudder goes about this case. While this was not as strong as The Sins of the Fathers, it still worked really well. I want more insights into the psyche of Scudder because I really think there is something dark waiting to come out. After my second Block novel, I’m starting to see just why he is respected as a modern pulp author and he is quickly becoming a favourite.


The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block

Posted March 13, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Pulp / 0 Comments

The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence BlockTitle: The Sins of the Fathers (Goodreads)
Author: Lawrence Block
Series: Matt Scudder #1
Published: Orion, 1976
Pages: 182
Genres: Pulp
My Copy: Personal Copy

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

A pretty young prostitute is found dead, killed by a minister’s son who is found hanging in a prison cell. This case may seem open and shut, considering the boy was found with her blood all over him and he confessed to the murder. But when the father hires private investigator Matthew Scudder to find out more of his daughters life, what will he uncover?

The Sins of the Fathers is pretty different from normal hard-boiled novels; the crime and case is closed and the PI is hired for something completely different; to learn more of the victims life. The father wants to know more about his estranged daughter, but once you go down the rabbit hole, you never know what you’ll find.

Enter Matt Scudder, an ex cop with a huge drinking problem. Scudder is a great character; he has all the hallmarks of a great hard-boiled detective but he seems more bitter and jaded that what you normally see. He is riddled with flaws and dark secrets that are waiting to be revealed and while the major one is, there is still a sense of mystery behind the man. But then he does something unexpected; for example, Scudder tithes 10% of all money being made to which ever church he visits (normally the Catholics because they are always open), you never get a sense that he is a church goer but he does believe in something.

This was an interesting take on this crime genre, yet it still had that dark plots and shady characters. While it seems like it’s a little lighter than the norm, it ends up packing a huge punch with some very classic noir twists towards the end. I really like Scudder as the protagonist; he was almost borderline anti-hero and sometimes I wish he would head in that direction but he never does.

Sins of the Fathers is the first book in Lawrence Block’s series featuring Private Investigator Scudder. I believe there are about 17 books in the series and I can’t wait to read them all. As soon as I finished this book, I dived into In the Midst of Death which most places call book two but Block has stated it is actually book three in the series. I hope when I get to Time to Murder and Create there isn’t much confusion but I’ve been told you can read the first three in any order but for the rest, it’s best to read them in the correct order.