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

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

by Lawrence Block
3.9 39

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Overview

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

"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316132732
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 05/12/2011
Series: Matthew Scudder Series , #17
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 73,129
File size: 767 KB

About the Author

Lawrence Block is a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, has won multiple Edgar and Shamus awards and countless international prizes. The author of more than 50 books, he lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

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A Drop of the Hard Stuff (Matthew Scudder Series #17) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Careful reading is rewarded in this stirring potboiler of a syndicate hit that may or may not involve members of a rehab group. Block's pacing and wit will keep you turning pages avidly; his insight & empathy will linger. Top Shelf stuff, certainly.
glauver More than 1 year ago
The last two books of the series involved Matthew Scudder in a search for a serial killer and were below par for this excellent saga. A Drop of the Hard Stuff returns Scudder to the days when he was a newly sober alcoholic. Lawrence Block takes his protagonist back to a time where the mere sight of a drink can place him in mortal jeopardy. An inquiry into the shooting death of a fellow AA member and career criminal becomes a larger investigation when other men involved in his penance die untimely deaths. The ending is as ambiguous as any of Block’s books but that makes the book a success as both novel and hard-boiled mystery.
Lady-Lexie More than 1 year ago
If you're a recovering alcoholic and in AA; this is the book for you. If not, don't despair. Tis still a very good read. I'm afraid the drinking/AA issues come before the story-line tho. Actually, they are very much a part of the story. All in all, a good read. Not what I expected but would read more of Block's books. This was my first. I would recommend it tho.
bptgsc More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im off to watch these!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bmamca36 More than 1 year ago
This book started off really slow and never got better. Definitely one of the worst mysteries I have ever read. Glad it was a bargain book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read kept the pages turning
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
Hi, my name is Robert Downs, and I’m a member of Lawrence Block Anonymous (LBA for short). I can see why he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994. He has the damaged, hard-boiled detective figured out as well as anyone else I’ve ever read, and his prose flows better than eggnog at Christmastime. And it’s easy to keep on guzzling the way his famous PI Matthew Scudder used to swig the hard stuff. A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF indeed. Well, more than, but it’s easy to get carried away when it’s just so darn good. If it wasn’t for Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals, I might have waited a bit longer before I delved into Matthew Scudder’s universe, and that would have been a serious travesty, especially considering my love of hard-boiled novels knows no bounds. I’d travel just about anywhere with a hard-boiled gumshoe at my side. I’d have to agree with the critics that this is one fine piece of detective fiction, even though it would have been easy for Mr. Block to let his guard down and go for the low blow. Matthew Scudder felt as real to me as if he was standing right beside me, telling me his story over a cup of joe with a determined look and a never-back-down attitude. The ending could have been a bit better, but it worked out just fine for the story, and it wasn’t out of character for Mr. Scudder. And this proves to be a bit of a minor detail in an otherwise gut wrenching story written with near pitch perfect lyrical prose. I must say this is one fine hard-boiled read, and if you’re into the hard stuff, it’s certainly worthy of a bit more attention. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
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I am a matthew scudder fan and enjoyed tjis book it is a good read
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My enjoyment of this formulaic book is dampened by the fact that the villain has most of the best lines, which troubles me ethically, as does the likelihood that this window on the Ninth Step may unduly deter people who badly need to do it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago