Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder Series #5) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain hooker's past that are far dirtier ...

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Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder Series #5)

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Overview

Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain hooker's past that are far dirtier than her trade. And there are many ways of dying in this cruel and dangerous town—some quick and brutal ... and some agonizingly slow.

A gripping backlist thriller--out of print since 1987--from the Edgar Award-winning author of A Ticket to the Boneyard. P.I. Matthew Scudder's investigation into the brutal killing of a young hooker, who was trying to get out of the business, reveals lethal secrets that are even dirtier than her clients--and puts Scudder's life on the market as well. Previous publisher: Jove.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
''Eight Million Ways to Die'' is splendid as a murder mystery, playing fair with the reader in almost every paragraph, and equally good as a treatise on the sociological pits. But much of its tension and most of its tears derive from character....''Eight Million Ways to Die'' is first-rate in all the ways I remember how to count.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061806643
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Matthew Scudder Series , #5
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 18,473
  • File size: 937 KB

Meet the Author

Lawrence Block is one of the most widely recognized names in the mystery genre. He has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. He received the Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association—only the third American to be given this award. He is a prolific author, having written more than fifty books and numerous short stories, and is a devoted New Yorker and an enthusiastic global traveler.

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Read an Excerpt

I saw her entrance. It would have been hard to miss. She had blonde hair that was close to white, the sort that's called towhead when it belongs to a child. Hers was plaited in heavy braids that she'd wrapped around her head and secured with pins. She had a high smooth forehead and prominent cheekbones and a mouth that was just a little too wide. In her western-style boots she must have run to six feet, most of her length in her legs. She was wearing designer jeans the color of burgundy and a short fur jacket the color of champagne. It had been raining on and off all day, and she wasn't carrying an umbrella or wearing anything on her head. Beads of water glinted like diamonds on her plaited hair.

She stood for a moment in the doorway getting her bearings. It was around three-thirty on a Wednesday afternoon, which is about as slow as it gets at Armstrong's. The lunch crowd was long gone and it was too early for the after-work people. In another fifteen minutes a couple of school teachers would stop in for a quick one, and then some nurses from Roosevelt Hospital whose shift ended at four, but for the moment there were three or four people at the bar and one couple finishing a carafe of wine at a front table and that was it. Except for me, of course, at my usual table in the rear.

She made me right away, and I caught the blue of her eyes all the way across the room. But she stopped at the bar to make sure before making her way between the tables to where I was sitting.

She said, "Mr. Scudder? I'm Kim Dakkinen. I'm a friend of Elaine Mardell's."

"She called me. Have a seat."

"Thank you."

She sat down opposite me, placed her handbag on the tablebetween us, took out a pack of cigarettes and a disposable lighter, then paused with the cigarette unlit to ask if it was all right if she smoked. I assured her that it was.

Her voice wasn't what I'd expected. It was quite soft, and the only accent it held was Midwestern. After the boots and the fur and the severe facial planes and the exotic name, I'd been anticipating something more out of a masochist's fantasy: harsh and stern and European. She was younger, too, than I'd have guessed at first glance. No more than twenty five.

She lit her cigarette and positioned the lighter on top of the cigarette pack. The waitress, Evelyn, had been-working days for the past two weeks because she'd landed a small part in an off-Broadway showcase. She always looked on the verge of a yawn. She came to the table while Kim Dakkinen was playing with her lighten Kim ordered a glass of white wine. Evelyn asked me if I wanted, more coffee, and when I said yes Kim said, "Oh, are you having coffee? I think I'd like that instead of wine. Would that be all right?"

When the coffee arrived she added cream and sugar, stirred, sipped, and told me she wasn't much of a drinker" especially early in the day. But she couldn't drink it black the way I did, she'd never been able to drink black coffee, she had to have it sweet and rich, almost like-dessert, and she supposed she was just lucky but she'd never had a weight problem, she could eat anything and never gain an ounce, and wasn't that lucky?

I agreed that it was.

Had I known Elaine long? For years, I said. Well, she hadn't really known her that long herself, in fact she hadn't even been in New York too terribly long, and she didn't know her that well either, but she thought Elaine was awfully nice. Didn't I agree? I agreed. Elaine was very levelheaded, too, very sensible, and that was something, wasn't it? I agreed it was something.

I let her take her time. She had acres of small talk, she smiled and held your eyes with hers when she talked, and she could probably have walked off with the Miss Congeniality award in any beauty contest she didn't win outright, and if it took her awhile to get to the point that was fine with me. I had no place else to go and nothing better to do.

She said, "You used to be a policeman."

"A few years back."

"And now you're a private detective."

"Not exactly." The eyes widened. They were a very vivid blue, an unusual shade, and I wondered if she were wearing contact lenses. The soft lenses sometimes do curious things to eye color, altering some shades, intensifying others.

"I don't have a license," I explained. "When I decided I didn't want to carry a badge anymore I didn't figure I wanted to carry a license, either." Or fill out forms or keep records or check in with the tax collector. "Anything I do is very unofficial."

"But it's what you do? It's how you make your living?"

"That's right."

"What do you call it? What you do."

You could call it hustling a buck, except that I don't hustle a whole lot. The work finds me. I turn down more than I handle, and the jobs I accept are ones I can't think of a way to turn down. Right now I was wondering what this woman wanted from me, and what excuse I'd find to say no.

"I don't know what to call it," I told her. "You could say that I do favors for friends."

Her face lit up. She'd been doing a lot of smiling ever since she walked in the door but this was the first smile that got as far as her eyes. "Well, hell, that's perfect," she said. "I could use a favor. As far as that goes, I could use a friend."

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 16, 2012

    a good read, and flows well,reason i rated it a 3 is because i

    a good read, and flows well,reason i rated it a 3 is because i read it several books back and nothing stands out as memorable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2007

    Fantastic NYC mystery

    Couldn't put it down. Lawrence Block's writing is both witty and fast-paced. Character development is superb.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2007

    Excellent Read- couldn't put it down

    Yes, very shady and deals with a darker side of NY. Typical Scudder and one of his best. The other reviewer thought the book was too shady-- well it is not the Brady Bunch-- it is hard core, excellent true Block style. If you like any of the Scudder series you will love this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2004

    Didn't enjoy it at all !

    Very disappointed in this book. Most of it deals with shady side of NYC - bars, AA meetings, hookers & pimps. Poorly written. If this is typical of 'Matthew Scudder' novels, it'll be the only one I waste my time with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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    Posted February 6, 2009

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    Posted October 8, 2014

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    Posted March 29, 2011

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