Time to Murder and Create (Matthew Scudder Series #2)

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Overview

Small-time stoolie, Jake " The Spinner" Jablon, made a lot of new enemies when he switched careers, from informer to blackmailer. And the more "clients", he figured, the more money — and more people eager to see him dead. So no one is surprised when the pigeon is found floating in the East River with his skull bashed in. And what's worse, no one cares — except Matthew Scudder. The ex-cop-turned-private-eye is no conscientious avenging angel. But he's willing to risk his own life and limb to confront Spinner's ...

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Time to Murder and Create (Matthew Scudder Series #2)

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Overview

Small-time stoolie, Jake " The Spinner" Jablon, made a lot of new enemies when he switched careers, from informer to blackmailer. And the more "clients", he figured, the more money — and more people eager to see him dead. So no one is surprised when the pigeon is found floating in the East River with his skull bashed in. And what's worse, no one cares — except Matthew Scudder. The ex-cop-turned-private-eye is no conscientious avenging angel. But he's willing to risk his own life and limb to confront Spinner's most murderously aggressive marks. A job's a job after all — and Scudder's been paid to find a killer — by the victim...in advance.

No one is surprised when informer/blackmailer Jake "The Spinner" Jablon is found floating in the East River with his skull bashed in. In fact, no one really cares, except Matt Scudder who was paid to find a killer--by the victim--in advance. Scudder's willing to risk his own life and limb to find Spinner's killers. Out of print since 1984.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is the third of Block's superb Matt Scudder series to appear (it was first issued by Dell in paperback back in 1977), and its return now in hardcover from Dark Harvest (which did the first, Sins of the Fathers , last year) is great news for admirers. The story is swift, complicated and elegant, and Kellerman gets it right when he says that the Scudder novels ``are the best New York crime novels ever written.'' In this one Scudder, still in his drinking days, is paid by ``Spinner'' Jablon, a small-time hood, to hold an envelope for him, with instructions to open it only when he dies, and then do what's necessary. What's necessary turns out to be determining which of Jablon's three eminent blackmail victims did the little man in. One is a wealthy businessman who's been covering up for his teenage daughter, whose car killed a child; there's a society wife with a past in porn movies and prostitution; another is a candidate for governor with a taste for hurting small boys in sadistic sex. How Scudder finds out who had Jablon killed, and the sometimes tragic consequences of his investigation, provide the meat of this outstanding thriller, which moves effortlessly through sleazy bars, skyscraper suites and luxury hotels. The dialogue is, as always, dead on and rivetingly entertaining, and the atmosphere--Kellerman has it right again--is ``wonderfully morose.'' Not to be missed. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Named after a line from Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock , this 1976 novel features Block's popular detective Matt Scudder. The plot finds Scudder investigating the death of a small-time hood who, knowing he was marked for death, paid Scudder in advance to solve his murder. All libraries where Block is popular will want to have this first hardcover edition, which also contains an introduction by fellow mystery writer Jonathan Kellerman.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380763658
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Series: Matthew Scudder Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 168,382
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.76 (d)

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

Chapter One

For seven consecutive Fridays I got telephone calls from him. I wasn't always there to receive them. It didn't matter, because he and I had nothing to say to each other. If I was out when he called, there would be a message slip in my box when I got back to the hotel. I would glance at it and throw it away and forget about it.

Then, On the second Friday in April, he didn't can. I spent the evening around the corner at Armstrong's, drinking bourbon and coffee and watching a couple of interns fail to impress a couple of nurses.

The place thinned Out early for a Friday, and around two Trina went home and Billie locked the door to keep Ninth Avenue outside. We had a couple of drinks and talked about the Knicks and how it an depended on Willis Reed. At a quarter of three I took my coat off the peg and went home.

No messages.

It didn't have to mean anything. Our arrangement was that he would call every Friday to let me know he was alive. If I was there to catch his can, we would say hello to each Other- Otherwise he'd leave a messageYour laundry is ready. But he could haveforgotten orhe could be drunk or almost anything.

I got undressed and into bed and lay on my side looking out the window. There's an office building ten or twelve blocks downtown where they leave the lights on at night. You can gauge the Pollution level fairly accurately by how much the lights appear to flicker. They were not only flickering wildly that night, they even had a yellow cast to them.

I rolled over and closed my eyes and thought about the phone call that hadn't come. I decided he hadn't forgotten and he wasn't drunk.

The Spinner wasdead. They called him the Spinner because of a habit he had. He carried an old silver dollar as a good-luck charm, and he would haul it out of his pants pocket all the time, prop it up on a table top with his left forefinger, then cock his right middle finger and give the edge of the coin a flick. If he was talking to you, his eyes would stay on the spinning coin while he spoke, and he seemed to be directing his words as much to the dollar as to you.

I had last witnessed this performance on a weekday afternoon in early February. He found me at my usual corner table in Armstrong's. He was dressed Broadway sharp: a pearl-gray suit with a lot of flash, a dark-gray monogrammed shirt, a silk tie the same color as the shirt, a pearl tie tack. He was wearing a pair of those platform shoes that give you an extra inch and a half or so. They boosted his height to maybe five six, five seven. The coat over his arm was navy blue and looked like cashmere.

"Matthew Scudder," he said. "You look the same, and how long has it been?', "A couple of years."

"Too damn long." He Put his coat on an empty chair, settled a slim attache case on top of it, and placed a narrow-brimmed gray hat on top of the attache case. He seated himself across the table from me and dug his lucky charm Out of his pocket. I watched him set it spinning. "Too goddamned long, Matt," he told the coin.

'You're looking good, Spinner." 'Been havin' a nice run of luck." "That's always good."

"Long as it keeps runnin'."

Trina came over, and I ordered another cup of coffee and a shot of bourbon. Spinner turned to her and worked his narrow little face into a quizzical frown. "Gee , I don't know," he said. "Do you suppose I could have a glass of milk?"

She said he could and went away to fetch it. "I can't drink no more," he said. "It's this fuckin' ulcer."

'They tell me it goes with success."

"It goes with aggravation is what it goes with. Doc gave me a list of what I can't eat. Everything I like is on it. I got it aced, I can go to the best restaurants and then I can order myself a plate of fuckin' cottage cheese. "

He picked up the dollar and gave it a spin.

I had known him over the years while I was on the force. He'd been picked up maybe a dozen times, always on minor things, but he'd never done any time. He always managed to buy his way off the hook, with either money or information. He set me up for a good collar, a receiver of stolen goods, and another time he gave us a handle on a homicide case. In between he would peddle us information, trading something held overheard for a ten- or twenty-dollar bill. He was small and unimpressive and he knew the right moves and a lot of people were stupid enough to talk in his presence.

He said, "Matt, I didn't just happen to walk in here off the street. "

"I had that feeling."

'Yeah. " The dollar started to wobble, and he snatched it up. He had very quick hands. We always figured him for a sometime pickpocket, but I don't think anybody ever nailed him for it. "The thing is, I got problems."

"They go with ulcers, too."

"You bet your ass they do." Spin. "What it is, I got something I want you to hold for me."

"Oh?"

He took a sip of milk. He put the glass down and reached over to drum his fingers against the attache case. "I got an envelope in here. What I want is for you to hold on to it for me. Put it some place safe where..."

Time to Murder and Create. Copyright © by Lawrence Block. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Weird one

    Andrew Vachss would choke on his own rage if he read this one.

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