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A Stab in the Dark by Lawrence Block
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A Stab in the Dark (1981)

by Lawrence Block

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Matt Scudder is a former NY cop whose life has fallen apart. After quitting the force, separating from his wife and moving into a hotel, he spends his days in bars "maintenance drinking". That's where his detective buddy sends a man named London to find Scudder. London's daughter was murdered by The Icepick Slasher nine years before, but the recent arrest of the slasher, and his admission to all the murders except London's daughter, sends the father to Scudder, a drunk who isn't in any business now, but whose tenacity and financial need makes him take the offer.
I've yet to be disappointed by Block. This is a good hardboiled, with murder, dames and lots of drinking. ( )
  mstrust | Aug 20, 2019 |
In the fourth Matthew Scudder novel, Scudder, an ex cop, who resigned after a shooting went bad -as in a 7 year old bystander got killed- lost the itch to work the beat, the itch to be a husband, the itch to be a father and turned to the bars in lower Manhattan. He doesn't have a PI license, but he has the best instincts around and he does favors for friends and friends of friends. Nine years earlier, the icepick killer had knocked off seemingly eight women with icepicks in the eyes. Recently, he was caught and confessed to 7 of 8 murders, and, although certifiably crazy, not to Barbara Eddinger's killing. The father wants Scudder to poke around and see if he can figure it out. Did someone else do it? Was it someone Barbara knew?

Scudder is a plodding bloodhound of a detective and he doggedly asks questions, hoping something will turn up and fall into his lap. Little by little, the clues come together and something points him in the direction of what really happened. If you like mysteries, this is a good one. Its not as dark and despairing as other Scudder novels. He has yet to admit that he has an alcohol problem, although he can't always remember how he got home.


It is another dark, gritty terrific novel. If you have read early Block, you will see how all the stuff he tried before comes together in the Scudder novels. There doesn't seem to be a clunker in the bunch. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
Matthew is asked by the father of a woman murdered 9 years ago, to look into the case. Originally thought to be a victim of the Ice Pick Prowler, new evidence proves that she was the lone victim who couldn't have been killed by the serial killer.

As Scudder sifts through the clues and questions the people closest to the case, he continues to fight a losing battle with his demons. He's a complicated guy and his descent to rock bottom is what makes these books so much more than a simple procedural. That, along with the excellent writing and plotting, is why I enjoy them so much and look forward to the rest of the series.

( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
This is another installment in the Matthew Scudder series. I'm liking Matthew more and more as I read the series. Lawrence Block has spent a lot of time making him into a human ex-cop. He makes mistakes, yet he's still heroic in a way. I also liked the plotline. The killer was lurking on the outskirts, but you could find him if you paid careful attention. This was probably my favorite installment so far. ( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
Solid mathew scudder mystery with a clever plot. ( )
  pnorman4345 | Jun 19, 2014 |
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FOR PATRICK TRESE
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I didn't see him coming.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380715740, Mass Market Paperback)

Louis Pinell, the recently apprehended "Icepick Prowler," freely admits to having slain seven young women nine years ago -- but be swears it was a copycat who killed Barbara Ettinger Matthew Scudder believes him. But the trail to Ettinger's true murderer is twisted, dark and dangerous...and even colder than the almost decade-old corpse the p.i. is determined to avenge.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Nine long years have passed since the killer last struck-nine years since eight helpless young women were brutally slaughtered by an icepick-wielding maniac. The trail grew cold, and the book was unofficially closed on a serial killer who stopped killing. But now the "Icepick Prowler" has confessed-but only to seven of the killings. Not only does he deny the eighth but he also has an airtight alibi. Barbara Ettinger's family had almost come to accept that the young woman was the victim of a random killing. Now they must grapple with the shocking revelation that not only was her death disguised to look like the serial killer's work but her murderer may have been someone she knew and trusted. Matthew Scudder has been hired to finally bring her slayer to justice, setting the relentless detective on the trail of a death almost a decade old, searching for a vicious murderer who is either long gone, long dead-or patiently waiting to kill again.

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