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Out on the Cutting Edge by Lawrence Block
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Out on the Cutting Edge (original 1989; edition 1996)

by Lawrence Block

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372None29,030 (3.87)6
Member:bfister
Title:Out on the Cutting Edge
Authors:Lawrence Block
Info:Avon Books (1996), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:"Matt Scudder" "crime fiction" "New York" "missing person"

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Out on the Cutting Edge by Lawrence Block (1989)

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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Man, am I going to be sad when I officially get caught up and I have no more Scudder books to read. Good thing I have about 11 more to go!

When you pick this book up, you're going to notice some major changes to the Scudder universe. At the end of Eight Million Ways to Die, Matt comes to terms with his alcoholism and attends - and participates - in an AA Meeting. At the beginning of this novel, Matt is 3 years sober and is heavily involved in the program. Also, we meet a new character (Mick Ballou) who is destined, so I hear, to become an integral part of the series.

I was very pleased with Out on the Cutting Edge overall. The integration of two mysteries made for a compelling read, as Scudder is rarely concentrating on one case for a lengthy period of time. I can say with confidence that I did not see that ending coming whatsoever. Block did it again - leading me in one direction and blindsiding me with where he intended to end up. Nothing satisfies me more that when I think I have it figured out only to be so wrong that I yell, "WHAT?!" out loud when it's revealed.

I can't recommend this series enough and I'm happy Block has written so many installments. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
Just like this series a lot. Sure, this one was weak with the solution but not weak enough to be upset. ( )
  bontley | Aug 24, 2013 |
ereader ebook
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
Alcoholic ex-cop turned unlicensed private detective Matthew Scudder returns. Scudder, a little over three years sober, is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young ingénue from the Midwest. He doesn't want the job, the trail is too cold and the clues are almost nonexistent, he tries to convince the young woman's father that it would be money wasted, but when the father insists Scudder reluctantly accepts the job. With little hope that the girl will ever be found the detective goes through the motions, interacting with the people and places that make up New York's Hell's Kitchen, waiting for something to break. Along the way he becomes obsessed with the apparent suicide of fellow AA member Eddie Dunphy, begins a new romance, drinks a lot of coffee and Coca-Cola and ponders the value of humanity.

This is the first novel to feature a completely sober Scudder. The storyline is dark and melancholy, more about Scudder going through the day-to-day motions of his sobriety than with his great detecting skills. The hours formerly wasted in barrooms are now whiled away in AA meetings and coffee shops. It's an introspective novel, a good one, featuring a man on the verge of something - he's not quite sure what - trying to reconcile his new life as a sober detective with his old life as a drunken one. When someone asks if Eddie was sober when he died, Scudder replies, "Would it make him any less dead?"

This novel also marks the first appearance of Mick "The Butcher Boy" Ballou, a notorious lifelong criminal with an explosive temper and violent past who figures largely in many of the later Scudder books. More crime story than mystery, this book is hardboiled but not action packed. It's full of thought provoking moments and things that will have the reader remembering them long after the book has been finished.

This is another of those books that probably won't have a great appeal to anyone who isn't already familiar with Matthew Scudder. There is adult language and situations, some racial slurs and brief descriptions of violence. ( )
  Mike-L | Apr 8, 2013 |
Ahhh... another spare, sparse and to the point "detective" novel starring Matt Scudder. A sober Matt this time... which didn't take away from the story at all, though it might have lessened some of the random violence that was in the earlier novels (i.e. he didn't get drunk and wander around looking for street fights).

Was the mystery conveniently solved? Sure... was it believably solved? Yep. Was Scudder tested in his resolve? You bet.

All in all it was an excellent installment in the series and I look forward to seeing what Matt gets up to in the next book. ( )
  crazybatcow | Nov 6, 2011 |
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Epigraph
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odor of death
Offends the September night . . .

--W.H. Auden
"September 1, 1939"
Dedication
for my cousin
Jeffrey Nathan
1943-1988
First words
When I imagine it, it is always a perfect summer day, with the sun high in a vivid blue sky.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380709937, Mass Market Paperback)

This is a city that seduces dreamers . . . then eats their dreams.

Matthew Scudder understands the futility of his search for a longtime missing Midwestern innocent who wanted to be an actress in the vast meat-grinder called New York City. But her frantic father heard that Schudder is the best—and now the ex-cop-turned-p.i. is scouring the hell called Hell's Kitchen looking for anything that might resemble a lead. And in this neighborhood of the lost, he's finding love—and death—in the worst possible places.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:04 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Scudder haunts the cold trail of a lost ingenue and finds love and death in all the wrong places in New York's Hell's Kitchen. Sequel to: When the sacred ginmill closes.

(summary from another edition)

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