Top critical review
Nope - doesn't do it for me.
on 18 September 2009
I just can't get on with Block and his hero Matt Scudder. I've tried for years, picking up the occasional one here and there but can't say I've ever enjoyed them much. You can't compare this stuff to Connelly or even Crais at their best. It's short and dark. At least the book doesn't take you long to read.
I think the problem is that our hero Matt has too many pals - cop friends, gangster friends, women friends who think of him with affection. There's too much going for him. He's got a drink problem that causes him angst but hey why worry when so many folk are rooting for you, Matt? We even get the obligatory tender sex scene with the old flame Elaine (a scarcely convincing hooker).
Then he just leaves her to it apart from installing some locks on the door. She keeps turning off the flipping call recorder so we can't get the villain on tape. The doorman of her building inevitably waves through the baddie to commit atrocity in the end. Then when one of his pals plonks the villain's home address in his lap he nearly blows it. I kept saying "Just wait for the guy and shoot him, Matt" instead of clambering up fire escapes and having a fight. It's all a bit, well...frustrating - and yet he's well thought of as a lawman. Matt was a good cop back in the day.
Am I missing something? I take from the story the point that Scudder felt guilty about framing Motley the first time and now he's sort of done it again - playing god as he says. He's guilty about an earlier accidental shooting too. He's a guilty guy walking the streets of the Big Apple, desperate for a drink to kill his demons.
I'll keep trying.