Customer Reviews for

A Drop of the Hard Stuff (Matthew Scudder Series #17)

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

When the master writes we read, enjoy and ponder his greatness.

If you are a follower of the Matthew Scudder books you know this series has gone from pay phones to cell phones with every book better than the last. We fans have followed Matt from his cop's days, watched him give up the bottle and find a place in his life with Elaine...
If you are a follower of the Matthew Scudder books you know this series has gone from pay phones to cell phones with every book better than the last. We fans have followed Matt from his cop's days, watched him give up the bottle and find a place in his life with Elaine and his freelance PI work. But the past is always lurking around and there are nights when retelling a part of your past life tends to help make amends with what was.

Mr. Block takes us back to the early days in the Scudder series with this book. We have Matt off the force, a month short of his one-year anniversary with sobriety and doing enough favors for friends to pay the rent and send a little home to his ex-wife. During this time Matt reconnects with a childhood acquaintance that is also walking through each of the steps to alcoholic free life. Matthew is not one to follow each step in order but his friend is on a mission to follow them one after another. To that end it seems one of the steps he took did not please someone from his checkered past and he winds up murdered. Matt is asked to look into this and do the best job he can to find out what was so awful that someone left a message in the way he was killed.

The more Matt delves into his friend's prior life the more doors are slammed in his face than opened. Every person that should have held a grudge has long since gotten over it and the others are still in prison. Yet more people end of dead and possibly murdered and while they appear random Matt is not buying the police line of wrong place, wrong time. Matt keeps looking and getting too close to the right person at the right time that they target him in the one way they can get to him - through the bottle sitting on his table. Will he be strong enough to turn away and say no or has he reached a point of weakness where he will say yes and take that drink?

Lawrence Block is a gifted and beyond talented writer of every genre he touches. I have read them all but this series for some reason is my favorite. Perhaps it was my first Block series but regardless this one I live for and every book out does the last one. While I am all about moving forward in a series taking us back to the lots of quarters for the pay phone days is a place Matthew Scudder still works well in. The story is fresh, plot a mysterious as any other and the characters well written and completely mesmerizing. All readers will love this book and should not pass up the chance to again see the roots of where the Scudder character cut his teeth.

posted by The_Reading_Reviewer on March 8, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

A treat for long-time Matthew Scudder fans

I got the sense that Lawrence Block might have been cleaning out his Matthew Scudder archives and found this novel amidst some old notes. Not to say that the resulting novel isn't terrific. This book hearkens back to the classic early Matthew Scudder novels. I really en...
I got the sense that Lawrence Block might have been cleaning out his Matthew Scudder archives and found this novel amidst some old notes. Not to say that the resulting novel isn't terrific. This book hearkens back to the classic early Matthew Scudder novels. I really enjoyed the trip back to vintage Manhattan noir.

posted by bptgsc on August 29, 2011

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    When the master writes we read, enjoy and ponder his greatness.

    If you are a follower of the Matthew Scudder books you know this series has gone from pay phones to cell phones with every book better than the last. We fans have followed Matt from his cop's days, watched him give up the bottle and find a place in his life with Elaine and his freelance PI work. But the past is always lurking around and there are nights when retelling a part of your past life tends to help make amends with what was.

    Mr. Block takes us back to the early days in the Scudder series with this book. We have Matt off the force, a month short of his one-year anniversary with sobriety and doing enough favors for friends to pay the rent and send a little home to his ex-wife. During this time Matt reconnects with a childhood acquaintance that is also walking through each of the steps to alcoholic free life. Matthew is not one to follow each step in order but his friend is on a mission to follow them one after another. To that end it seems one of the steps he took did not please someone from his checkered past and he winds up murdered. Matt is asked to look into this and do the best job he can to find out what was so awful that someone left a message in the way he was killed.

    The more Matt delves into his friend's prior life the more doors are slammed in his face than opened. Every person that should have held a grudge has long since gotten over it and the others are still in prison. Yet more people end of dead and possibly murdered and while they appear random Matt is not buying the police line of wrong place, wrong time. Matt keeps looking and getting too close to the right person at the right time that they target him in the one way they can get to him - through the bottle sitting on his table. Will he be strong enough to turn away and say no or has he reached a point of weakness where he will say yes and take that drink?

    Lawrence Block is a gifted and beyond talented writer of every genre he touches. I have read them all but this series for some reason is my favorite. Perhaps it was my first Block series but regardless this one I live for and every book out does the last one. While I am all about moving forward in a series taking us back to the lots of quarters for the pay phone days is a place Matthew Scudder still works well in. The story is fresh, plot a mysterious as any other and the characters well written and completely mesmerizing. All readers will love this book and should not pass up the chance to again see the roots of where the Scudder character cut his teeth.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2013

    Hard to put down

    Good read kept the pages turning

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted June 29, 2011

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