Wednesday 23 January 2013



A pretty young girl is butchered in her Greenwich Village apartment. The prime suspect dies and NYPD consider the case closed, but Scudder looks into the death for the girl's father. Suddenly he's up to his neck in sleaze and corruption in a world where children must pay for their parents' sins.

I read this book a few years ago, but having recently joined a pulp fiction group on Goodreads spent an hour or so Saturday afternoon scrabbling around in the attic, trying to locate the blooming thing. The group have a monthly poll where members vote on a future read and this was obviously selected a couple of months ago as January’s pick. I wasn’t too unhappy as I could dimly recall reading and enjoying it before, plus an added bonus was that at less than 150 pages long it wouldn’t take forever to get through.

Block has been quite prolific with a writing career spanning over 50 years so far, and he’s still going strong. During that period he has written several other series, in addition to the Scudder books, listed below.  Apart from the odd Bernie Rhodenbarr book and the first Keller – Hit Man, I haven’t really immersed myself in his work. That said, I probably have all the Scudder books, at least as far as no.14 in my collection. No excuse for not pulling my finger out and getting stuck in. 

Scudder, an ex-cop with a fondness for the bottle looks into a murder/suicide for the murder victim’s father, crossing paths with old colleagues, a retired good-time girl and a minister of the cloth. During the course of his enquiries, we find out the reasons for Scudder’s departure from the NYPD, as well as his solitary status, being estranged from his wife and children though still in touch with his boys.

 Whilst the case is quickly resolved, I found it slightly less interesting than the man investigating it...... aloof, unemotional, tolerant of and complicit in graft, violent if the mood suits him, but with a moral compass, albeit somewhat skewed.

I’m interested in seeing how Block's Scudder evolves over the next few books. As my Oxfam purchased copy is an omnibus edition covering the first three titles in the series, I’ve no real excuse for not reading the next instalment in February.

4 from 5

Bought from Oxfam several years ago.



  1. I like this series, and without wanting to give away too much, Scudder changes his habits (although not his personality) and I think the middle books in the series really are excellent.

  2. Sarah, I'm glad you've tried and enjoyed Scudder, I'll try and play catch-up! Another plus point for me is that the books don't appear to be over-long.