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—as he unfortunately is in this new book—well, 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 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—as I’ve read his large back-catalog—because 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.