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on 7 August 2015
A slow book but entertaining, written in the first person point of view. A young woman is murdered in her home, the young man she shared the home with it seems killed her without a doubt before committing suicide in prison, the woman's father asks Scudder, an unlicensed private eye to look into his daughters life, in doing so Scudder learns the secrets of the victim and her alleged killers lives and comes to the conclusion of who really did kill her.

Matt Scudder is a semi honest unlicensed private eye who sees a case through to the end and makes sure justice is served one way or another. He's a man who left the police force after an eight year old girl is killed when he's chasing killers and one of his bullets ricocheted into her eye. Matt Scudder is a man with a drink problem and no private eye licence. As he puts it, he does favours for people and they give him gifts.

Book ten of the Matt Scudder series - A Walk Among The Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson - was made into a pretty good film and I'm looking forward to reading it, but first I'm going to read books two through eight, I believe there are sixteen in all up to now and I'm looking forward to reading them all.
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on 2 November 2017
Another chip off the old Block. I love 'em.
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on 3 October 2017
great item great seller
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on 14 May 2017
Matthew Scudder is real and honest. He exposes the seediness of the city and his own vulnerability and weakness. Excellent read but nothing is perfect.
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on 15 July 2015
dull, predictable plot and flat characters
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on 1 February 2013

A pretty young girl is butchered in her Greenwich Village apartment. The prime suspect dies and NYPD consider the case closed, but Scudder looks into the death for the girl's father. Suddenly he's up to his neck in sleaze and corruption in a world where children must pay for their parents' sins.

I read this book a few years ago, but having recently joined a pulp fiction group on Goodreads spent an hour or so Saturday afternoon scrabbling around in the attic, trying to locate the blooming thing. The group have a monthly poll where members vote on a future read and this was obviously selected a couple of months ago as January's pick. I wasn't too unhappy as I could dimly recall reading and enjoying it before, plus an added bonus was that at less than 150 pages long it wouldn't take forever to get through.

Block has been quite prolific with a writing career spanning over 50 years so far, and he's still going strong. During that period he has written several other series, in addition to the Scudder books, listed below. Apart from the odd Bernie Rhodenbarr book and the first Keller - Hit Man, I haven't really immersed myself in his work. That said, I probably have all the Scudder books, at least as far as no.14 in my collection. No excuse for not pulling my finger out and getting stuck in.

Matthew Scudder

1. The Sins of the Fathers (1976)
2. Time to Murder and Create (1977)
3. In the Midst of Death (1976)
4. A Stab in the Dark (1981)
5. Eight Million Ways to Die (1982)
6. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (1986)
7. Out on the Cutting Edge (1989)
8. A Ticket to the Boneyard (1990)
9. A Dance at the Slaughterhouse (1991)
10. A Walk Among the Tombstones (1992)
11. The Devil Knows You're Dead (1993)
12. A Long Line of Dead Men (1994)
13. Even the Wicked (1996)
14. Everybody Dies (1998)
15. Hope to Die (2001)
16. All the Flowers Are Dying (2005)
17. A Drop of the Hard Stuff (2011)

Scudder, an ex-cop with a fondness for the bottle looks into a murder/suicide for the murder victim's father, crossing paths with old colleagues, a retired good-time girl and a minister of the cloth. During the course of his enquiries, we find out the reasons for Scudder's departure from the NYPD, as well as his solitary status, being estranged from his wife and children though still in touch with his boys.

Whilst the case is quickly resolved, I found it slightly less interesting than the man investigating it...... aloof, unemotional, tolerant of and complicit in graft, violent if the mood suits him, but with a moral compass, albeit somewhat skewed.

I'm interested in seeing how Block's Scudder evolves over the next few books. As my Oxfam purchased copy is an omnibus edition covering the first three titles in the series, I've no real excuse for not reading the next instalment in February.

4 from 5

Bought from Oxfam several years ago.
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on 16 April 2007
'Sins of the Fathers' is the first in a very successful series of Matt Scudder mysteries written by Lawrence Block. The character of Scudder manages to tick all the PI cliché boxes, but due the great writing skills of Block he still comes out a winner.

Scudder is hired by the father of a murdered woman to uncover the reasons behind her death. Someone has already been caught for the crime, but the father is still nowhere near understanding what happened. Scudder uncovers in his own style that perhaps the case is not as simple as it seems?

This book works due to the character of Scudder alone. He is a hard drinking and disillusioned man who visits prostitutes and dishes out his own justice if needed. These may seem familiar to you but this book is from the 70s and represents one of the first characters of this type to feel so modern. The book has hardly aged at all and although I worked out the mystery by half way I enjoyed Scudder's tactics in working it out for himself. I look forward to the rest in the series.
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on 6 September 2000
"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.
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on 6 December 2007
Be brave start reading Lawrence Block..........be warned it can become an addiction and of all his characters Scudder is the best.
This is the start of the long Scudder series that will take you through his life, loves tribulations and more than a few murder cases.

Scudder will become real to you and you will get into that twilight world of beer drenched bars that open to the wee small hours and are frequented by a cross section of society that all have a tale to tell.
this may not be the best in series, but it still has 5 stars form me.....it is book one of the great Scudder journey.

The prose is so sparse as to be naked, but the realism and the tales are fascinating. you may find yourself being more interested in Scudder than the actual story itself and that is sort of the point. these books are really the story of one mans life and he just so happens to be a private detective.

The books are generally not full of blood and guts, but they are hard boiled and some times morally ambiguous.

Be brave start the journey with Matt !
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on 30 September 2001
This book was written back in 1976 as the first of the Matt Scudder series.
It is very short book (132 pages) and it leaves many questions hanging about Scudder that the each book in the series slowly fills in and expands upon. Here in book one we meet Scudder - ex-cop, alcoholic, divorced, ex-Catholic, tough guy, soft-hearted but with a strong sense of justice, shall we say. Sound like a lot of cliches but Scudder is a very believable character and someone you'd like to call upon to sort out a problem.
The story is very New York. Quite mild by today's standards. I guessed the plot one page ahead but Block isn't trying for some Father Brown mystery, he's trying to explore the motivations of people.
A good read.
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