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Everybody Dies (Matthew Scudder)

(Book #14 in the Matthew Scudder Series)

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Book Overview

Matt Scudder is finally leading a comfortable life. The crime rate's down and the stock market's up. Gentrification's prettying-up the old neighborhood. The New York streets don't look so mean... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Another extraordinary mystery from the Master.

This latest entry in the Matt Scudder seires is a haunting powerful tale of life, death, and loss. Scudder, the private investigator and reformed drunk, is older now; perhaps not wiser, but clearly interested in slowing down. He's married, he actually has a license from the state, he's not the carefree man he was ten or twenty years ago.Scudder's life, though, will not necessarily allow him to just walk away. In particular, his close friendship with organized crime "boss" Mick Ballou proves very troublesome. Some unknown gang is attacking Ballou and his associates, and Matt finds himself caught up in the middle of it. Despite his ties to Ballou, he still tries to stay out of it. Friendship will only carry him so far. But when his own life is threatened as well, he is left with little choice.The plot is interesting and suspenseful, the mystery entertaining as Block's always are. But more than that, this is a moving book, a book that touches you and makes you think. The title Everybody Dies may be more figurative than literal, but there is still enough death and pain in this book to reach even the coldest heart.

What Is the Right Thing To Do?

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.


The newest Matthew Scudder novel, "Everybody Dies" is up there among the best of the series. Everyone directly and indirectly connected to Mick Ballou are meeting untimely ends. There seems to be no suspect until very late in the novel. Not only is Matt Scudder a top detective, even Mick Ballou shows he has some sense of detection. One likable characted that has been a fixture in the Scudder series is killed so the reader is drawn into the investigation. This book is probably not the best Scudder novel in which to start the series. There are so many characters here that are in other novels, but for long-time fans of the series this has to rank up there with the best of them.


I thoroughly enjoyed the latest Scudder. After "Even the Wicked", I thought Block had run out of juice on Matt Scudder, but he's baaaack!!Like one of the other readers, I re-read the book from cover to cover about two weeks after my first reading. Mick Ballou is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read.It gets harder and harder to identify my favorite Scudder. Certainly "When the Sacred Ginmill Closes" is near the top, as well as "A Long Line of Dead Men". For a long time, 8 million ways to Die" was my favorite, but I think that's just because it was my first. But I have to say I think Block has reached a new high with "Everybody Dies.


It is almost impossible to review just one Scudder book. They really are small parts of a larger whole. If you are new to the series, go way back and see where they came from. The important point here is not what happens, but who they are. Whenever I read a new Scudder novel I feel like I am being reunited with old friends. Has there ever been a better supporting cast, especially Mick Ballou? You can hear the lilt in his brogue when Block writes his dialogue. Simply wonderful. When Scudder opens the first chapter of this book riding upstate on a evening with his cohorts, failing to mention the bodies in the trunk, you realize that you are in the hands of a master. In one of the earlier books Elaine said to Scudder that, no matter what happens to them, they can't leave New York. They know too many interesting people there to ever leave. Well, no matter what happens to Tanner or Bernie, don't stop writing Scudder novels. These people are just too interesting to go away.
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