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[In the Midst of Death] [by: Lawrence Block] Paperback – 30 Apr 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: AVON BOOKS (30 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SBX3UA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,510,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

In the Midst of Death Nobody ever called Jerry Broadfield a saint, but he was an (almost) honest cop. Then one day he took off his badge and ratted on nearly every crooked cop on the NYPD. He was a hero--until someone set him up. Now Matt Scudder is on the case and has no idea how dirty it will get. Full description

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2001
Format: Paperback
'In the midst of death' is a hard book to review as certain elements of the book are far superior to others.
The plot centres around sometime-PI Matt Scudder investigating the incarceration of NYPD officer Jerry Broadfield on a charge of murder. The circumstances are complicated as Broadfield has given evidence on Police corruption to a Special Prosecutor, and the victim had just made accusations of extortion against Broadfield. Armed with little or no evidence, and in the face of hostility and hidden agendas, Matt Scudder tries to unearth the truth surrounding the murder.
The plot is a good one, and is one of the book's major plus points. With a large cast of potential murderers, 'In the midst of death' is a real "Whodunnit?" novel (I didn't guess correctly, although in hindsight the clues were there).
The other major strength of the book is Matt Scudder himself. A world-weary ex-policeman, Scudder is a great character. Cynical, smart, lonely and a borderline alcoholic, Scudder much resembles both James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux and Ian Rankin's John Rebus. A real 'hero' for those who like their champions to be of a flawed or tarnished nature.
Unfortuantely, partly due to the books brevity (184 pages), this excellent characterisation is not extended to any of the other characters in the book, with the exception of Broadfield's wife. As a result the remaining cast all appear as shallow bit-players. Although their motivations are given, it is always from Scudder's perspective and lacks any emotion. I am pleased to say that this is rectified in later novels in the series.
Overall this was a difficult book to rate. Too good for 3 stars and not quite good enough for 4. A good, raw, Matt Scudder novel.
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Format: Paperback
Blurb....
NYPD cop Jerry Broadfield has turned on his own, collaborating in a Special Prosecutor's investigation into police corruption. It's a move that lands him in a jail cell on a murder rap and Scudder has his work cut out trying to free Broadfield.
I've got a bit of a series jag on at the minute; I'm currently reading 5 separate character series at the rate of 1book a month. Whether each and every one sustains my interest in the coming months, only time will tell. One that does look like prolonging my interest and staying the course is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder.
Currently 17 books long, this is the 3rd instalment I've read in as many months.
Block has a writing style that engages me. Scudder frequently bar-hops, he's often doing nothing more than drowning his sorrows or taking his poison with coffee if he's not on a full-blown bender. There's a frailty about Scudder, whilst physically large and imposing, and mentally sharp his guilt about accidentally killing a young girl while on the police force is slowly dragging him down. He provides financial support for his ex-wife and boys, but never seems willing to be the dad his sons clearly crave, always with a ready excuse as to why he can't take them to a game. Drink being his one true love, but he hasn't fully surrendered to it just yet. He's still functional and still coherent most of the time.
There are almost two mysteries involved in each of the books I've read in the series so far. Each case, each crime, each murder is somewhat incidental, in my opinion to the real mystery of Matthew Scudder which Block slowly reveals a book at a time.
I'm already looking forward to episode 4 next month.
4 from 5
Bought my copy second hand years ago for £4.50 from Oxfam - the first books in an omnibus edition - bargain!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Hill on 31 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the first standalone novel of Block's Matt Scudder series.
I read that Block doesn't have much of a following in the UK, which is a shame. I first read his 'Small Town' and became interested in his writing from then on. He's written an enormous amount of books on many crime related subjects, some of which work for me (the Keller series) some of which don't (the Rhodenbarr books).
I'm addicted to Scudder and have just finished the 16th in the series.
This book as the first in the series is of course the place to start, it's perhaps not a polished as later one but as any book addict knows, you must start at the very beginning. Over time you will see Scudder's character develop as he battles with his addiction and forms various relationships.
None of the books require a great deal of thought or analysis, they are simply escapist, entertaining New York Noir detective stories.
I feel that the kindle book is overpriced, and anyone considering going through the series would be better off buying the paperback versions, many of which are very cheap even when postage charges are taken into account. I shall keep reading them regardless. There are 17 books in the Matt Scudder series, the last of which was published in 2011, so hopefully there are more to come.
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