Friday, 26 April 2013

LAWRENCE BLOCK - A STAB IN THE DARK


Synopsis/blurb....

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. ...

In this 4th Matthew Scudder book, Scudder is asked to look into the murder of Charles London’s daughter, Barbara. At the time she was believed to have been a victim of the “Icepick” serial killer who has been recently arrested. Pinell, the killer has an alibi for when Barbara was slain and London wants Scudder to make some enquiries because the police aren’t particularly interested. Who was responsible for Ettinger’s death and why?

Scudder’s enquiries lead him back to Ettinger’s husband at the time, who may or may not having been cheating on Barbara and could ostensibly have been responsible for the murder. Digging deeper and speaking with the original officers who were part of the original enquiry, as well as Barbara’s sister and neighbours; Matthew still feels the trail has gone too cold and the task is fruitless. Scudder’s involvement also brings him into contact with the victim’s employer at the time of her death, Janice Corwin. Sensing a kindred spirit, with a similar fondness for alcohol, they become involved.

After upsetting someone with his questions and the consequent re-opening of old wounds, London tries to yank Scudder off the case. As Scudder hasn’t actually been hired he refuses and continues to dig until he finds the answer.

I enjoyed the continuation of Block’s series and Scudder’s continued descent deeper and deeper into the bottle. There is an acknowledgement from him of issues with alcohol, brought home to him, when Jan breaks off their fledgling relationship. How he addresses these difficulties, I’m hoping is explored in book 5 of the series which I will be reading next month.

This was another enjoyable and solid book from Block. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who has enjoys crime fiction and watching the evolution and development of a main character.

4 from 5

I bought my copy second-hand years ago, source forgotten.

8 comments:

  1. Col - I like the Matthew Scudder character very much. He seems to search for some sort of redemption and yet he keeps slipping. There's something very...human about that. Block's got writing talent too I think. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

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    1. Thanks, Margot. I like reading about his issues. Block is great; though I haven't really dipped into his other characters in any depth.
      I've read 1 x Bernie, 1 x Keller and none of the others, but Scudder is definitely likeable.

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  2. I usually only read his John Keller books. One Matthew Scudder book I did read was WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES which as I remember it was pretty good. --Keishon

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    1. Keishon, I'll try and make time for the Keller's - the first one I read was really good. I should get to Ginmill in another month or so, cheers.

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  3. I love the early Matt Scudder books. Glad you are enjoying them!

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    1. Thanks Sarah - no complaints so far!

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  4. I have a goal to read more books by Lawrence Block, but so far have only read one Scudder and one Evan Tanner. A long time ago I read several of the Burglar series and I plan to reread those also.

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    1. You're ahead of me on the Tanner and Burglar books, I'll probably continue on with one of his other series when I'm done with Scudder, but that's over a year away!

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