In his sixteenth Matthew Scudder novel, All the Flowers Are Dying, New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block takes the award-winning series to a new level of suspense and a new depth of characterization. Building on the critical and commercial success of Hope to Die, Block puts Scudder -- and the reader -- at the very edge of the abyss. Scudder, a complex character who has grown and aged in real time, confronts the implacable challenge of mortality. But he must also tackle a determined, relentless, and icily inhuman adversary, perhaps the most unforgettable villain Block has ever created. A man in a Virginia prison awaits execution for three hideous murders he swears, in the face of irrefutable evidence, he did not commit. A psychologist who claims to believe the convict spends hours with the man in his death row cell, and ultimately watches in the gallery as the lethal injection is administered. His work completed, the psychologist heads back to New York City to attend to unfinished business. Meanwhile, Scudder has just agreed to investigate the ostensibly suspicious online lover of an acquaintance. It seems simple enough. At first. But when people start dying and the victims are increasingly closer to home, it becomes clear that a vicious killer is at work. And the final targets may be Matt and Elaine Scudder. The suspense is breathtaking, the outcome never certain. A series that has garnered no end of awards -- the Edgar, the Shamus, the Philip Marlowe, the MalteseFalcon -- has ascended to a dizzying new height. With this novel, Lawrence Block, who recently received the Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement from the Crime Writers Association of the United Kingdom, is at the very top of his form.
This book includes stories by such luminaries as Joyce Carol Oates, T. Jefferson Parker, Russell Banks, and Peter Robinson. The stories explore the darker side of human nature and American culture.
It's hard to ignore someone with his hands in your mouth. Bernie Rhodenbarr's all ears when Dr. Sheldrake, his dentist, starts complaining about his detestable, soon-to-be-ex wife, and happens to mention the valuable diamonds she keeps lying around the apartment. Since Bernie's been known to supplement his income as a bookstore owner with the not-so-occasional bout of high-rise burglary, a couple of nights later he's in the Sheldrake apartment with larceny on his mind -- and has to duck into a closet when the lady of the house makes an unexpected entrance. Unfortunately he's still there when an unseen assailant does Mrs. Sheldrake in . . . and then vanishes with the jewels. Bernie's got to come out of the closet some time. But when he does, he'll be facing a rap for a murder he didn't commit -- and for a burglary he certainly attempted -- unless he can hunt down the killer who left him hanging.
Bookseller and New-Yorker-to-the-bone, Bernie Rhodenbarr rarely ventures out of Manhattan, but he's excited about the romantic getaway he has planned for himself and current lady love Lettice at the Cuttleford House, a remote upstate b&b. Unfortunately, Lettice has a prior engagement--she's getting married . . . and not to Bernie--so he decides to take best buddy Carolyn instead. A restful respite from the big city's bustle would be too good to waste. Besides, there's a very valuable first edition shelved in the Cuttleford's library that Bernie's just itching to get his hands on. Did we neglect to mention that Bernie's a burglar? But first he's got to get around a very dead body on the library floor. The plot's thickened by an isolating snowstorm, downed phone lines, the surprise arrival of Lettice and her reprehensible new hubby, and a steadily increasing corpse count. And it's Bernie who'll have to figure out whodunit . . . or die.
Gulliver Fairborn's novel, Nobody's Baby, changed Bernie Rhodenbarr's life. And now pretty Alice Cottrell, Fairborn's one-time paramour, wants the bookselling, book-loving burglar to break into a room in New York's teeth-achingly charming Paddington Hotel and purloin some of the writer's very personal letters before an unscrupulous agent can sell them. Here's an opportunity to use his unique talents in the service of the revered, famously reclusive author. But when Bernie gets there, the agent is dead . . . and Bernie's wanted for murder. (He really hates when that happens!) Perhaps it's karmic payback; Bernie did help himself to a ruby necklace on his way out. (But it was lying there. And he is a burglar.) Now he's in even hotter water. And he'll need to use every trick in the book--maybe going so far as to entice the hermitic Fairborn himself out of seclusion--to bring this increasingly twisted plot to a satisfying denouement.
He runs a bookstore by day and is a burglar by night
A philosophical yet practical gentleman, Bernie Rhodenbarr possesses many admirable qualities: charm, intelligence, sparkling wit, and unwavering loyalty. Of course, he also has this special talent and a taste for life's finer things. So he's more than willing to perform some vengeful larceny for a friend -- ripping off a smarmy, particularly deserving plastic surgeon -- for fun and a very tidy profit. But during a practice run at another address, Bernie's forced to hide under a bed when the lady of the house returns unexpectedly with the worst kind of blind date in tow. In no time, Bernie's up to his burgling neck in big trouble. Again. And this time it includes his arrest, no less than four murders, and more outrageous coincidences than any self-preserving felon should ever be required to tie together.
Bernie Rhodenbarr has gone legit -- almost -- as the new owner of a used bookstore in New York's Greenwich Village. Of course, dusty old tomes don't always turn a profit, so to make ends meet, Bernie's forced, on occasion, to indulge in his previous occupation: burglary. Besides which, he likes it. Now a collector is offering Bernie an opportunity to combine his twin passions by stealing a very rare and very bad book-length poem from a rich man's library. The heist goes off without a hitch. The delivery of the ill-gotten volume, however, is a different story. Drugged by the client's female go-between, Bernie wakes up in her apartment to find the book gone, the lady dead, a smoking gun in his hand, and the cops at the door. And suddenly he's got to extricate himself from a rather sticky real-life murder mystery and find a killer -- before he's booked for Murder One.
It's not that used bookstore owner and part-time burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr believes the less legal of his two professions is particularly ethical. (It is, however, a rush, and he is very good at it.) He just thinks it's unfair to face a prison term for his legitimate activities. After appraising the worth of a rich man's library -- conveniently leaving his fingerprints everywhere in the process -- Bernie finds he's the cops' prime suspect when his client is murdered. Someone has framed Bernie Rhodenbarr better than they do it at the Whitney. And if he wants to get out of this corner he's been masterfully painted into, he'll have to get to the bottom of a rather artful -- if multiply murderous -- scam.
Bookselling burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr doesn't generally get philosophical about his criminal career. He's good at it, it's addictively exciting--and it pays a whole lot better than pushing old tomes. He steals therefore he is, period. He might well ponder, however, the deeper meaning of events at the luxurious Chelsea brownstone of Herb and Wanda Colcannon, which is apparently burgled three times on the night Bernie breaks in: once before his visit and once after. Fortunately he still manages to lift some fair jewelry and an extremely valuable coin. Unfortunately burglar or burglars number three leave Herb unconscious and Wanda dead . . . and the cops think Rhodenbarr dunnit. There's no time to get all existential about it--especially after the coin vanishes and the fence fencing it meets with a most severe end. But Bernie is going to have to do some deep thinking to find a way out of this homicidal conundrum.
Bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr's in love--with an exotic Eastern European beauty who shares his obsession with Humphrey Bogart movies. He's in heaven, munching popcorn with his new amour every night at a Bogart Film Festival--until their Casablanca-esque idyll is cut short by his other secret passion: burglary. When he's hired to pilfer a portfolio of valuable documents from a Park Avenue apartment, Bernie can hardly refuse. But the occupant's early return forces Bernie to flee empty-handed--and he soon finds himself implicated in a murder. Before you can say "who stole the strawberries?" he's hunting for a killer, up to his neck in the outrageous intrigues of a tiny Balkan nation . . . and menaced by more sinister fat men and unsavory toadies than the great Bogie himself butted heads with in pursuit of that darn bird!
Bernie Rhodenbarr is actually trying to earn an honest living. It's been an entire year since he's entered anyone's abode illegally to help himself to their valuables. But now an unscrupulous landlord's threat to increase Bernie's rent by 1,000% is driving the bookseller and reformed burglar back to a life of crime -- though, in all fairness, it's a very short trip. And when the cops wrongly accuse him of stealing a priceless collection of baseball cards, Bernie's stuck with a worthless alibi since he was busy burgling a different apartment at the time . . . one that happened to contain a dead body locked inside a bathroom. So Bernie has a dilemma. He can trade a burglary charge for a murder rap. Or he can shuffle all the cards himself and try to find the joker in the deck -- someone, perhaps, who believes that homicide is the real Great American Pastime.
Bernie Rhodenbarr is a personable chap, a good neighbor, a passable poker player. His chosen profession, however, might not sit well with some. Bernie is a burglar, a good one, effortlessly lifting valuables from the not-so-well-protected abodes of well-to-do New Yorkers like a modern-day Robin Hood. (The poor, as Bernie would be the first to tell you, alas, have nothing worth stealing.) He's not perfect, however; he occasionally makes mistakes. Like accepting a paid assignment from a total stranger to retrieve a particular item from a rich man's apartment. Like still being there when the cops arrive. Like having a freshly slain corpse lying in the next room, and no proof that Bernie isn't the killer. Now he's really got his hands full, having to locate the true perpetrator while somehow eluding the police -- a dirty job indeed, but if Bernie doesn't do it, who will?
Evan Tanner ran head-first into a piece of shrapnel in Korea, and now he can't sleep. Ever. Which can be an asset for a dedicated linguist, term paper forger, thief, lost cause enthusiast . . . Spy. Tanner takes on jobs for a covert intelligence organization so secret that even those who work for it have no idea who they're working for. Now his nameless supervisor wants him to sneak behind the Iron Curtain, storm an impregnable castle in Prague (alone!), and rescue an old Slovak who's got a pressing date with a hangman's noose. The trouble is the prisoner is an unrepentant Nazi who makes Goering look like Mister Rogers. Tanner hates Nazis. If he's caught (which is likely) the U.S. will deny that they know him. And Tanner will be executed. After being tortured, no doubt. All in all, there are many excellent reasons why Tanner should refuse this assignment. So, naturally, he says yes.
When the nude body of a young woman is discovered in Central Park, private eye Ed London knows that he must find her killer. After all, he has a very personal interest in this case: he put her there!
A successful socialite's beautiful wife was raped and murdered in her own home -- and Matt Scudder believes the victim's "grieving" husband was responsible for the outrage. But to prove it, the haunted p.i. must descend into the depths of New York's sex-for-sale underworld, where young lives are commodities to be bought, perverted...and destroyed.
CAN THERE BE a more romantic and exciting setting for a crime story than a ship on the open sea?
A deranged derelict, a crazed Vietnam vet, has been arrested for gunning down successful young lawyer Glenn Holtzmann at a corner phone booth on Eleventh Avenue -- and the suspect's brother wants p.i. Matthew Scudder to prove the madman innocent. But Scudder's curiosity and dedication are leading him to dark, unexplored places in his own heart...and to passions and secrets that could destroy everything be loves.
"Right up there with Mr. Block's best....A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF keeps us guessing."--Tom Nolan, Wall Street JournalFacing his demons in his first year of sobriety, Matthew Scudder finds himself on the trail of a killer. When Scudder's childhood friend Jack Ellery is murdered, presumably while attempting to atone for past sins, Scudder reluctantly begins his own investigation, with just one lead: Ellery's Alcoholics Anonymous list of people he wronged. One of them may be a killer, but that's not necessarily Scudder's greatest danger. Immersing himself in Ellery's world may lead him right back to the bar stool.In a novel widely celebrated by critics and readers, Lawrence Block circle back to how it all began, reestablishing the Matthew Scudder series as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction. Immersing himself in Ellery's world may lead him right back to the bar stool.Exploring themes of loss, nostalgia, and redemption, for Lawrence Block, A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF circles back to how it all began, reestablishing why the Matthew Scudder series is widely regarded as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction.
Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also--and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain hooker's past that are far dirtier than her trade. And there are many ways of dying in this cruel and dangerous town--some quick and brutal ... and some agonizingly slow.
Enough Rope, a collection of superb stories, establishes the extraordinary skill, power, and versatility of contemporary Grand Master Lawrence Block. Block's beloved series characters are on hand, including ex-cop Matt Scudder, bookselling burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, and the disarming duo of Chip Harrison and Leo Haig. Here, too, are Keller, the wistful hit man, and the natty attorney Martin Ehrengraf. Keeping them company are dozens of other refugees from Block's dazzling imagination, all caught up in more ingenious plots than you can shake a blunt instrument at. Half a dozen of Block's stories have been short-listed for the Edgar Award, and three have won it outright. All the tales in Block's three previous collections are here, along with two dozen new stories. Some will keep you on the edge of the chair. Others will make you roll on the floor laughing. Enough Rope is an essential volume for Lawrence Block fans, and a dazzling introduction for others to the wonderful world of Block magic!
Matthew Scudder knows that justice is an elusive commodity in the big city, where a harmless man can be shot dead in a public place criminals fly free through holes in a tattered legal system. But now a vigilante is roaming among the millions, executing those he fees deserve to die. He calls himself "The Will of the People"--an ingenious serial killer who announces his specific murderous intentions to the media before carrying through on his threats. A child molester, a Mafia don, a violent anti-abortionist--even the protected and untouchable are being ruthlessly erased by New York's latest celebrity avenger. Scudder knows that no one is innocent--but who among us has the right to play God? It is a question that will haunt the licensed p.i. on his journey through the bleak city grays, as he searches for the sanity in urban madness. . .and for a frighteningly efficient killer who can do the impossible.
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 anymore. Then all hell breaks loose. Scudder quickly discovers the spruced-up sidewalks are as mean as ever, dark and gritty and stained with blood. He's living in a world where the past is a minefield, the present is a war zone, and the future's an open question. It's a world where nothing is certain and nobody's safe, a random universe where no one's survival can be taken for granted. Not even his own. A world where everybody dies.
SO THIS GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR... ...and when she walks out there's a man with her. She goes to bed with him, and she likes that part. Then she kills him, and she likes that even better. On her way out, she cleans out his wallet. She keeps moving, and has a new name for each change of address. She's been doing this for a while, and she's good at it.And then a chance remark gets her thinking of the men who got away, the lucky ones who survived a night with her. She starts writing down names. And now she's a girl with a mission. Picking up their trails. Hunting them down. Crossing them off her list...
For years now Keller's had places to go and people to kill. But enough is enough. Just one more job--paid in advance--and he's going to retire. Waiting in Des Moines for the client's go-ahead, Keller's picking out stamps for his collection at a shop in Urbandale when somebody guns down the charismatic governor of Ohio. Back at his motel, Keller sees the killer's face broadcast on TV. A face he's seen quite often. Every morning. In the mirror. Keller calls his associate Dot in White Plains, but there's no answer. He's stranded halfway across the country, and every cop in America has just seen his picture. His ID and credit cards are no longer good, and he just spent almost all of his cash on the stamps. Now what?
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