"The Sins Of The Fathers" is the first novel in Lawrence Block's long running "Matt Scudder" novels.
Scudder, a former police office in the NYPD and alcoholic, does favours for people, and that is how he is drawn into the murder of a young girl when the police close the case.
This novel is an entertaining read, but lacks the edge that many of Block's other books have. Scudder takes on a case in which the murderer has apparently already been caught and discovers some nasty secrets.
Block's writing cannot be faulted, as he maintains his top quality style and his ability to entertain with his words. The character of Scudder is also particularly interesting. He is drinking heaviliy, and is very complex. Scudder is very much a "lone wolf" in this novel, and this is part of the problem with the novel. He has no one really to interact with (who is not involved with the plot), and although the first person perspective allows Scudder to inform the reader of his thoughts there is on occasion too much exposition.
The other main problem with this novel is that it is far too short. At less than two hundred pages long Scudder seems to be on the verge of solving the case right away without much investigation. It's also annoying because it is so well written and moves at such a pace that it is very easy to finish this novel after only a few hours of reading.
Another nice touch is the way that Block has included scenes with minor characters, such as Elaine, who will be signicant in later novels in the series.
"The Sins Of The Fathers" is a good start to the Matt Scudder series of novels, and on it's own is an entertaining enough read. But it has several faults which mean that it is just a good novel, and not a great novel like many of the others that Lawrence Block has written.