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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Everybody Dies (Matt Scudder Mysteries)
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on 18 July 2017
Absolutely brilliant. Like LA Confidential set in the '90s and in New York - not LA and starring a private detective and a hoodlum. So actually not like it (at all), but a bloody good read, none the less.
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on 13 January 2015
Love Scudder books, and this one is as good as any other
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on 25 May 2017
Great piece of writing
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on 29 September 2015
Great Matt Scudder book, Block back on form. Loved it!
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on 4 November 2014
Brilliant as ever
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on 20 June 2014
It is with a sense of ominous trepidation bordering on hysterical fear that a long term fan of Lawrence Block will open this book and begin reading. Lovers of the world’s favourite new age noir hero will see the book’s title and may well wonder who gets knocked off, especially when the story commences with Scudder himself assisting in the act of digging a grave at Mick Ballou’s farm in the New York countryside. Reminiscences and melancholy abound in the book’s early stages, with Matt thinking of the intimate relationship he had with Mrs Holtzmann, and the impact this might (or might not) have had on his ongoing relationship with Elaine. Fate itself dictates that he bump into the former Mrs Holtzmann on his way to a meeting with Mallou and so the reader wonders at this early stage of the book what role she is about to play in the forthcoming events. We soon learn that two of Ballou’s helpers are beaten up and murdered inside a locked storage facility and Scudder is hired “off the record” by Ballou to track down the killers. The book gets heavy when two thugs try the same trick on our man Scud but he deals with these two goons in quick fashion. The reader’s nerves are shot to pieces in the exchange and there is no way in heck that you will be able to put the book down now.

Mr Block’s writing style has always been incredibly engaging and brilliantly personal but as the series has lengthened, the act of reading a Scudder novel has become a serious literary and almost life changing event. The books are heavy, deep mysteries that touch on religion, philosophy, life, love, and relationships and will no doubt do much more for the reader than your average whodunit. EVERYBODY DIES is a perfectly plotted, gripping read. I would not recommend this as a starting point to the series.

The series is so good that it almost demands to be read in the order that Mr Block wrote them.

It pays to recognise greatness.

BFN Greggorio!!!!!
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VINE VOICEon 28 May 2004
I am a devoted fan of the Matt Scudder series, and found myself riveted to this book. Cruel fate intervenes in many ways in this story to push the characters to the edge. How they deal with those challenges is intensely personal, and makes you think about what you, the reader, would have done. As a result, you learn a lot about yourself and the characters. This book is not for the squeemish, for it contains some of the most graphic violence imaginable. Yet the violence is essential to the story, as a civilized man (Scudder) is drawn into a law of the jungle type situation. When civilization offers no direct solution to your problems, what should you do? That's the moral dilemma that is repeated throughout the book. Like the best of the Ross MacDonald novels, this mystery clearly transcends the genre into being primarily a novel about good and evil. Heart of Darkness is evoked in several ways. The plot also shakes up many of the base line themes in the Scudder series so that subsequent books will undoubtedly take Scudder into new directions -- something all Scudder fans should welcome. In many ways, this book is as pivotal to the series as the first book, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes. This book is a must read for all Scudder fans. I felt drawn in not only by the moral dilemmas, but by the detail of the writing. How would I carry a concealed gun? Would I keep a bulletproof vest on during hot weather? If you like Lawrence Block and have not read Scudder, you should start now. I do suggest that you read the books in chronological order of their publication. The characters build nicely from one book to the next, and you will find this book much more satisfying if you know what preceded it. Otherwise, this will simply seem somewhat like a book filled with gratuitous violence. If you do not know Block, I think this is his finest series. You should start now with When the Sacred Ginmill Closes. You have a major treat ahead of you as you read the 14 books in this series.
4 people found this helpful
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on 29 November 1999
English readers, take note: Block delivers another authorship master-class with "Everybody Dies." No-one since Chandler has managed to enhance the mystery genre to this level of character-depth, irony and moral consciousness, (and, for me, Block does it better, with more humour, pace and literacy). Block's mind in Scudder's voice and Scudder's thoughts in Block's language, make for a glorious sensibility. I mean, you just know, for example, that the praise for that great actor, Michael Moriarty, is Block's - but it still sounds like Matt talking and constitutes another brush-stroke in the fantastically sympathetic portrait of a modern renaissance hero who combines exquisite taste, (food, locations, music, films, people), with good martial skills; strict self-discipline, (the AA meetings, the tithing), with occasional rage and lust; and moral faculties such as loyalty, self-examination and the rest with expediency and rationalisation whenever it solves a problem. I really hope Jeff Bridges - have you seen his incredible work in "Arlington Road?" - gets to play Scudder in a better film than "Eight Million Ways to Die," maybe in the rumoured "Walk Among the Tombstones," (which is certainly one of the top three Scudder novels and my own favourite of the decade). Or perhaps Bridges is ear-marked for another wonderful Block hero, "Hit Man" Keller: either way, it would be fabulous to see Block's works properly realised for the screen. I was pretty chuffed to see my own ideal, (but anachronistic), actor for Mick Ballou - Victor McLaglen - get a mention in "Everybody Dies;" maybe we'll have to wait for Chris Penn to mature into the role? Anyway, I just wanted to add my voice to the deserved praise here: the book is beautifully balanced between tension, mounting carnage and those reflective and character-developing interpolations we Block fans have come especially to relish in the Scudder series. Ballou's "confession" to Matt on the way to the final showdown is one of the most beautifully crafted and placed passages I've read in a modern novel. Forget the Booker twerps and tune in to Block!
One person found this helpful
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on 26 September 2000
They don't come much better than Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder series. From the moment I read the first one -"Sins of the Fathers", I was hooked and went on to read the other thirteen! If you've never read any of the series, I'd recommend starting at the beginning (Mr Block has his own website at lawrenceblock.com for you to check out the chronology) because with each book, Block reveals more of Scudder's character and we "get to know" him as we read on. If you start with "Everybody Dies", you'll be starting too far down the line. Buy every single one of the series - they're fantastic! Scudder is a hero for the 21st Century - complete with his own demons and dry wit!
3 people found this helpful
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on 10 December 1999
There is some very good dry wit in this book, together with some insightful writing.
However, the plot is totally uncomplicated, or even simple, and fails to deliver any challenges to the reader.
Block didn't do enough wrong to earn an entry in my "Don't touch again" list, but I'm not sure that I'd race out and buy his latest straight away either.
2 people found this helpful
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