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Book Review: All the Flowers Are Dying by Lawrence Block

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Lawrence Block is one of my favorite crime writers. I especially love him for his versatility, from the comic adventures of a burglar in the Burglar Who… series, to the serious stories about private detective Matthew Scudder, who spends some of his time going to AA meetings.

When he’s funny Block can be as hilarious as Donald Westlake, one of my true writing heroes. But when he’s serious and predictable&#8212as he unfortunately is in this new book&#8212well, then I lose some respect for him.

The new book is about Scudder and a serial killer. And guess what? The serial killer is an evil genius coming to get Scudder! Shock! Surprise.

How boring.
How 90s.

How Jonathan Patterson.

I like Block for his original voice but that voice seems to be missing in action with this novel, and I find that disappointing. I’ll keep reading each new book&#8212as I’ve read his large back-catalog&#8212because if he gets his voice back and some interesting new plots, he’ll be a delight once again to read.

I give the book a 6. I would have given it a 5 were it not for fascinating, well-developed characters from past Scudder books. Put simply, Block is coasting in this book, and it’s time for him to start pedalling again.

I also have some book reviews here but most are at my blog.
Edited: PC

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    Do others here read Block?

  • Scott Butki

    Hi, Andrew. Thanks.