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Hope to Die (Matthew Scudder)

(Book #15 in the Matthew Scudder Series)

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Book Overview

The city caught its collective breath when upscale couple Byrne and Susan Hollander were slaughtered in a brutal home invasion. Now, a few days later, the killers themselves have turned up dead behind... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Scudder's Back!

Lawrence Block has been around for a while, writing a number of successful series. Although many of his books are good to great, I have found that his most recent books in his other series (Bernie Rhodenbarr, Keller, Evan Tanner) have been a little weaker than in the past, this book - featuring his best character, Matthew Scudder - shows that Block still has it.Scudder is a constantly evolving character. In the earliest novels, he was a standard hard-boiled private eye, but soon he came to terms with his inner demons (in particular, his alcoholism) and learned how to reconstruct his life. Now, he is sixty-two, not as inclined to get in dangerous situations, but still out to expose murderers.This case deals with a couple who is killed in a home invasion robbery. Soon, the killers are themselves dead in a murder-suicide, but Scudder, when drawn into the case, begins to think there is a third man. Along with his investigation, he is involved with a subplot involving the death of his ex-wife and his relationship with his estranged sons.Block is always at his best when writing about Scudder, and this case is no exception. Admittedly, this book works best if you have read the others in the series, but even as a standalone, this is a good novel.

An Intricate Chess Game

Lawrence Block and Robert Parker are two of my favorite mystery authors, and share many similarities. Their detectives, Matt Scudder and Spenser are 'fixers', rather than pure detectives or simple toughs. They share a taste for wise-cracks and dry wit, have similar relationships with women, and are men of action. Between the two authors, a whole genre exists that no one else has successfully invaded. I sometimes think of it as the tough guy noir cozy. Although that is a bit of an overstatement.I do like Block's work a little better, though. Primarily because Matt Scudder is the stronger, more finely developed character. I find his progression from alcoholism to sobriety and his attitude about himself refreshing. He does not preach, but he tries his best to live according to his ethics, and succeeds for the most part. The characters that surround him also seem to be a bit more attractive because they reflect the same basic integrity. Block's stories also often have a darker more chilling coloration than Parker's, who sometimes puts more energy into caustic humor than into the plot itself. And sometimes Block's plots take unexpected and satisfying turns into new directions.'Hope to Die' is such a case in point. When a married couple who happened to attend the same society event as Matt and Elaine Scudder are brutally murdered in a theft, Matt is intrigued. But the case is quickly solved when the thieves are found dead. One killed by the other, and the other a suicide, with the evidence in hand. But the couple's niece and daughter are not completely comfortable with the resolution, and so Scudder finds himself, and his sidekick T.J., drawn into an investigation into an apparently closed case. They carefully pick out the conflicting strands of the web, but everything is circumstantial, requiring an almost Holmesian effort to get glimpses of the truth.If it was not for the unexpected appearance of narrative from the viewpoint of a killer, the reader would be completely justified in thinking that Scudder's imagination had gotten the better of him. But Block makes such deft use of a sociopathic killer's reflections that the reader is kept completely engaged and rooting for Matt and T.J. as they reconstruct the murders from ghosts and shadows. While we know before Matt does that the original murders were the work of a mastermind, Block manages to give so little away that the suspense and mystery continue right through to the end.This injection of a second viewpoint is novel in a Matt Scudder novel, but it is done so perfectly if feels like a regular feature. The device works beautifully to keep the plot moving without the fragmentation and confusion that result when multiple viewpoints are poorly used. I don't think I have ever seen it done better in modern detective fiction. Block minimizes all distractions (at the cost of some of his usually exceptional characterizations), keeping the reader focused on the comparative workings of S

Scudder, Back on Top

If there is any doubt that Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder is the best private detective series currently ongoing, "Hope to Die" dispells it. After two subpar Scudder efforts ("Even the Wicked" and "Everybody Dies") that made one wonder if it wasn't time for the alcoholic P.I. to pack it in, he returns here as good as he has ever been.To his credit, Block uses a literary device this time that's he's never used before in a Scudder novel, namely interspersing the usual first person narrative with a view through the eyes of the villian. It could have backfired, but instead it succeeds brilliantly as Block creates one of the most chilling enemies that Scudder has ever faced. The story involves the grizzly murder of a Manhattan socialite couple and the apparent murder -suicide of the perpetrators. Scudder is turned on to the possibility that there is something more to it and begins scratching around. Sure enough, before long more bodies start turning up, the victims of a criminal mastermind.Block is a first rate crime writer who pulls no punches in his descriptions. Scudder's contiuned growth as a character during the series is another plus, and its nice to see him back in his element. "Hope to Die" leaves you waiting impatiently for the next Scudder novel.

Hope to Die

I always look forward to reading a Matt Scudder novel by Lawrence Block. "Hope to Die" is the 15th Matt Scudder novel. Susan and Byrne Hollander are brutally murdered in a burglary on their home. Days later, the 2 killers are found in a room in Brooklyn dead in what the police believe is a murder-suicide. They close the case. Matthew Scudder believes that a third person is involved in the murders and tells the Hollander's daughter, Kristin, his theory. She hires him to find the murderer. Then Kristin's first cousin, Lia Parkman, is murdered. Seven other poeple are murdered before Scudder figures out who did it. The murderer is perhaps the most diabolical creation of Lawrence Block. I also enjoyed learning more about Scudder's sons, as they play a role in one of the novel's subplots. This is an excellent addition to an excellent series.

Compelling and impossible to put down.

Matthew Scudder is back in Lawrence Block's latest novel, Hope to Die. As is to be expected, the unlicensed private investigator finds himself drawn into the middle of a horrible and violent murder case that was considered solved and closed by the New York police.Upon returning home from a night at the theater, a prominent and wealthy couple is surprised to find burglars ransacking their half-million dollar brownstone. The thieves viciously torture and murder the couple and flee with pillowcases full of stolen treasures. The case is immediately solved when the bodies of the burglars are discovered, in a murder-suicide fashion. Open and closed. Nice and neat.Except what if there was a third thief, a mastermind behind the entire scheme? What if pillowcases full of stolen treasures was not the motive for the crime? What if the wealthy dead couple had a daughter who stood to inherit millions? Or a close-to-the-family niece who would be in better financial standing if an accident happened to her cousin?What it? What if? Leave it to Lawrence Block to compile and dump on the reader an array of `what if's' to keep you guessing and keep you turning pages. Leave it to Block to come up with a well thought out and carefully plotted thriller that is nothing short of classic Scudder. The host of characters Block creates are lively and real. Dialogue is crisp and believable. As always the mystery is full of puzzle pieces to sift through. It is no wonder Lawrence Block is an award-winning novelist. Hope to Die is fast and complete and I enjoyed every chapter.--Phillip Tomasso III, author of Third Ring and Tenth House
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