"Right up there with Mr. Block's best....A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF keeps us guessing."--Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
Facing his demons in his first year of sobriety, Matthew Scudder finds himself on the trail of a killer. When Scudder's childhood friend Jack Ellery is murdered, presumably while attempting to atone for past sins, Scudder reluctantly begins his own investigation, with just one lead: Ellery's Alcoholics Anonymous list of people he wronged. One of them may be a killer, but that's not necessarily Scudder's greatest danger. Immersing himself in Ellery's world may lead him right back to the bar stool.
In a novel widely celebrated by critics and readers, Lawrence Block circle back to how it all began, reestablishing the Matthew Scudder series as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have been reading through the series of 17 Matthew Scudder novels for several years now. I have forced myself to take the project slowly and space each book 2-3 months apart. I did not want to binge the whole thing in a few months. The subtle nuances of atmosphere and place should be savored.
In some ways, it has been like experiencing a time lapse movie of 35 years of New York history. Scudder’s character like the city itself has changed, grown, and reinvented itself many times over since he debuted in Sins of the Father in 1975.
I am glad this entry was written in 2011 because it is a much stronger effort than the preceding 2005 novel All the Flowers Are Dying. If the series ends here, it has ended on a high note. In fact, I would put A Drop of the Hard Stuff in the top 5 or 6 best of the series.
This novel contains a very short prologue set in the present day, but the bulk of the narrative takes place in the early 1980’s, just as...
Another smash hit for Lawrence Block, and hearkens back to the early just-off-the-sauce days for Matt Scudder. Block really has the gift for dialog here, and there are a couple of twists and turns that I really didn't see coming. Just when you think you have it figured out, he surprises you and the story builds to a different conclusion than you thought (or maybe hoped) it would. A Drop of the Hard Stuff is about crime and punishment, old scores and justice denied, all wrapped up with Scudder's trip through his first year of sobriety and Alcoholics Anonymous. Altogether, this is a terrific read, second only to his best "Everyone Dies", but with a very different, almost surreal background, less tension, and more cerebral. I almost wish I had read this book before "Everyone Dies", but because I read them reversed "A Drop of the Hard Stuff" worked in a different way mentally for me than it would have otherwise. Mick Balleau works his way into the story just...
AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, has saved millions of lives from the addiction of alcohol. Incorporated into this program are Twelve Steps to make life easier. The eighth step '8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.' may be the most difficult and, in this novel, the most dangerous.
Matthew Scudder, an ex NYC cop/detective, left his job because of his drinking that led to problems all around, the loss of his wife, his job and a life that was out of control. He moved into a hotel, took odd jobs as a private detective, no license, just money under the table and something to do. The something to do that keeps him very busy is joining AA and giving up booze. He goes from one AA meeting to another, talks to his sponsor every night, and has a Chinese dinner with him every Sunday. Matt wants to quite drinking and does everything he can to maintain his sobriety. He has several women friends, a serial monogamist, so to speak. One day he...
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