Friday, September 02, 2011

Books: Out on the Cutting Edge by Lawrence Block

Out on the Cutting EdgeOut on the Cutting Edge by Lawrence Block

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ex-police detective and unlicensed private investigator Matthew Scudder is three years into sobriety, still taking things one day at a time and attending daily AA meetings when he is approached by an Indiana car salesman whose daughter has gone missing in New York City. Scudder knows the possibility of finding the woman alive are slim, but agrees to take the case. Then, when a fellow AA member who asked Scudder to hear his fifth-step confession dies suddenly, there is another mystery on his plate: the death of his friends and a mysterious woman he is falling for. Block spends a lot of this particular novel delving into Scudder's personality and personality as his relationship with the mystery woman develops. At times this turns the actual mystery into an afterthought, but it works due to Block's excellent storytelling ability and his unique ability to compose unique, convincing characters. Finding his way through by dogged diligence and good luck, Scudder is able to crack both of the cases and uncover a previously unknown serial killer in the process. Matthew Scudder is a continually compelling character, who gets deeper and more thoughtful as the series goes by. Like James Lee Burke's great character, Dave Robicheaux, who is also a recovering alcoholic, their personal trials and tribulations are an integral part of the story and the book is deeper and more resonant for it. Out on the Cutting Edge -

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