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on 15 June 2007
I am not going to write a review specifically about "All the Flowers are Dying", because Lawrence Block is too prolific a writer to be judged on just one book. Block has written several series of books and about a million short stories and for me, the Matt Scudder novels are his best. This is a totally believable character. One who has been up against the odds and down in the gutter but who has pulled through. By no means an Angel, if he needs to kill someone then they end up dead, but also by no means a bad guy, those he kills deserve it.

Either Lawrence Block is a sober alcoholic himself or is a superb researcher for this very complex moral yet amoral character rings true as a bell. It's not just a character study though, the stories are great too. Deserves far more recognition than he gets.
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on 26 October 2005
Block is a master of crime and suspense. The "bad guy" in this well crafted thriller makes Hannibal seem positively civilised. Matt Scudder, Eileen and TJ are like the reader's old friends, similar to the guys in the 87th Precinct depicted by Block's mate Ed Mcbain. For those of us who know and love NYC there is the added bonus of seeing the city come alive on every page. Very tempted to award 5 stars, a great read, thoroughly recommended.
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The first half of All the Flowers Are Dying contains a portrait of one of the most diabolical and disgusting mass murderers I've encountered in detective fiction. I felt both sick and off balance as I read several of the most horrific parts of this memorable tale about infamy. I attribute my reaction to the power of Mr. Block's imagination and writing.
In the second half of the book, Matt Scudder comes across the murderer's trail and the two find themselves on a path of irresistible confrontation. It's in this section of the book that some disappointments exist for the reader.
Matt proves to be too good at what he does. The unstoppable murderer is foiled at each turn much too easily for the suspense to build properly. Also, Matt continues to draw further and further away from his early roots in alcohol, slatternly living and tough moral choices. As a result, the grit continues to escape from the series to be replaced with talcum powder. Eventually, the talcum powder seems destined to become baby oil.
But I strongly recommend that you read the book for its remarkable first half. It's better to read a brilliant half of a book with a less strong ending . . . than to never read any brilliant writing at all.
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VINE VOICEon 7 October 2006
Lawrence Block is a prolific and wonderfully talented writer. This is the latest in his Matt Scudder series, and contains some of the best, most tautly-written material I've read for a while. Everything about the book is totally believable, and Block successfully weaves together two separate elements of the story, bringing it to a page-turning finale. Seriously, the guy can't write a bad book. Reading it hot on the heels of the novel that won the 2005 Booker Prize, I know which I preferred....
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on 21 June 2005
I have been a fan of Block's works for many years and this, his latest Scudder novel, does not disappoint. All the main charcters are there. Block has used a new technique this time around to tell the story from the killer's point of view (sort of) and it works very well and is chilling in parts. Highly recommended.
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on 9 August 2006
In the 16th Matt Scudder book, supported by a cast of by now familiar faces, Lawrence Block's hero is facing an old enemy. The events leading up to this bitter reunion are cleverly and chillingly plotted. The author gives us the voice of Scudder, but also that of his adversary, stalking each victim. The story flows fast round the streets of New York City and in the last 30 pages I could hardly breathe for suspense. If you are already a fan, you'll be glad you picked this up. If you are new to this writer, you'll have a treat in store, (and plenty of earlier work to catch up on).
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on 7 December 2015
New to this author. Certainly a page turner. I was breathless at the end. However, it is fairly gruesome - depends what you like! I may try the one prior to this now.
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on 14 July 2014
This book – the sixteenth in the extraordinary saga of New York Private Eye Matthew Scudder – is the excellent follow up to HOPE TO DIE. I must admit, having just completed book fifteen, that the meaning of the title never really became clear to me. But apart from that gripe, it was a totally riveting read. As the events contained within the opening chapters to ALL THE FLOWERS ARE DYING pass by your eyes in quick succession, the more you read of this book the more uncomfortable you become and even though you may find yourself wondering at the ingenuity of such a serious sociopath it is not long before you find yourself wishing that he was locked safely and securely behind bars in the nation’s maximum security prisons. Instead of which, he is gleefully manipulating the universe he finds himself in.

At book’s commencement, Scudder is asked by one of Elaine’s friends to investigate a character she has hooked up with, someone of which she met blindly via an internet dating service. Along with the supremely confident assistance of up and coming PI-apprentice TJ, the matter seems to be a relatively sane walk in the park for our obliging heroes. But can we successfully join the dots and assume that the man in question is in fact the dastardly mass murderer from HOPE TO DIE? Of course, the book is way more complicated than such a simple deduction and it would be offensive to Mr Block to suggest such a simple plot. One needs to read this excellent book to find out who does what to whom but you can rest assured that there will be plenty of action, suspense, subtle violence and classic New York atmosphere all packed in between the front and back covers.

Mr Block’s writing style has not aged or dropped off in entertainment value one iota across the full length of the Scudder Saga and this is something for which his world wide followers are forever grateful. In fact, our man Scud has moved with the times and finally come to grips with some of the technology which has so overwhelmingly shaped his world. The characters populating the story are the much loved favourites but for a bit of extra colour lets hope Mick Ballou’s appearances in the story are more than cameos.

This one is sure to entertain his long standing followship. A solid entry in the series.

BFN Greggorio!
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on 22 September 2013
Have now read all the Scudder books and this was as good as ever. Just need him to hurry up and write another one now.
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on 26 January 2008
While there's much in this book to appreciate, Block is slipping into the zone experienced by too many series writers - he's repeating himself, this time even using the same opponent for Scudder. Depressingly, the novel attempts to make up for repetitions by cranking up the 'yuck' scale. I found it a major disappointment, continuing the deterioration of the last couple of books in this series. Given the quality of earlier Scudder, a real pity.
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