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Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block

Eight Million Ways to Die (1982)

by Lawrence Block

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In this hard-boiled detective novel, featuring Matthew Scudder as a retired cop now working as an unlicensed PI, he investigates the murder of a young prostitute. When you read a Block novel you know the crime and investigation will be complex, the characters fully developed, and the dialogue snappy. What really sets this series above the others in the genre is Scudder himself. He's a complicated guy who continues to fight his addictions and demons. The seedy and crime-ridden atmosphere of NYC in the early 80s is palpable and parts of the book reads like a social commentary of the times.

Interesting fact: The title is a take-off on an old tv series, The Naked City, in which each episode ends with the line, "There are eight million stories to tell in the naked city. This has been one of them." ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Another great episode in the Matthew Scudder series. This episode highlights Matt's struggle with alcoholism. This is probably the episode where Matt is the most likeable. The mystery element was good as well. I liked not knowing who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. The resolution seemed to come out of nowhere, but the clues were there if you read carefully. ( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
Very dark and very violent, but that's not what kept me from liking the book. The main character, Matt Scudder, is an alcoholic. The entire book is obsessed with AA meetings, cravings, falling off the wagon, etc. etc. If he left that out, the book would probably be about 100 pages or less. Just irritating. Other than that, the plot was good, but enough!!! ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 19, 2014 |
Wow. Just wow. I can easily say this is the first "great" Scudder book. I knew I made a mistake rating the first 4 novels at 5 stars each. It's not that they're bad books, they're just not in the same league as [b:Eight Million Ways to Die|76758|Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder, #5)|Lawrence Block|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1289521310s/76758.jpg|2905875].

In the 5th installment of the series, Block takes Scudder and the City of New York all the way down to rock bottom. Whether he's exposing the reader to gang violence and random murders or he's having Scudder drink himself half to death; not a lot of hope escapes these pages.

It's been suggested in the past that Block has had his fair share of problems with alcohol. While he refuses to admit it or even talk about it, you have to think at the very least, he had some personal exposure to the addiction. The subject matter is written with a sense of intensity that is often hard to ignore.

Scudder advances so much as a character in this outing that he's quickly solidifying himself as one of my favorite detectives. His violent outburst against a common street thug is just so bad-ass that I actually found myself yelling "OH!" at the encounter's conclusion. The man can be rather ruthless when threatened but carries a sense of calm when surrounded by others. However, under all that, he comes across as terribly vulnerable this time around. He's just an all around great read and I can't wait to get deeper into the series.

( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
Another quick novel is Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block, author of the “Burglar” series of mysteries (wonderful stuff). In this book his hero is Matthew Scudder, who reminds me of Ross Mac- Donald’s hero, Lew Archer. Scudder is hired by Kim, a hooker, who wants him to intercede with her pimp, Chance, so she can leave the business. Kim is subsequently murdered, with all the suspicion falling on Chance, who then hires Scudder to find the real killer. Chance is an unusual pimp, who squires his stable of six girls to assorted cultural events and who collects African tribal art. Scudder, meanwhile, in true hardboiled tradition, is fighting his own demons, and a subplot revolves around his battle against loneliness and alcohol. The resolution is perhaps a little too neat, but Block is a good writer, and the Scudder series is a welcome addition to the genre. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world. -- Edgar Allan Poe
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Boston John Bambi
Mark the Dwarf
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380715732, Mass Market Paperback)

Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain hooker's past that are far dirtier than her trade. And there are many ways of dying in this cruel and dangerous town—some quick and brutal ... and some agonizingly slow.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Tormented by the slaying of the hooker who turned to him for help just before her death, cop-turned-private eye Matthew Scudder begins an investigation into the woman's past that reveals secrets that could be deadly for him.

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