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Author: Lawrence Block

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      27.09.2000 01:53
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      Lawrence Block is a New York based author who has a rich stable of characters each of whom are regularly revisited and expanded upon.The novels are all on a crime theme but different characters explore the myriad avenues of crime and retribution. My favourite character would be Matthew Scudder the alcoholic ex-cop come detective(played by Jeff Bridges in the movie "Eight million ways to die").Scudder has appeared in a dozen books and his cases involve murders ,kinappings extorsion etc.From what I've written nothing would appear to set Block apart from dozens of similar gumshoe writers.What is rewarding though is the character development and the genuinley sleazy feel given to New York's underbelly. Scudder boasts a great gallery of freaks and weirdos such as his albino informant and computer hackers extrodinare,the Kongs.He originally got backhanders for protection from a high class hooker,Elaine who is now his wife and only recently moved out of his one bed room in a fleapit hotel.He is a former detective in the NYPD but after a little girl was killed by his bullet he hit the bottle and left his family. In the first Scudder book (Sins of the fathers)he was a no hope ex-cop who took detective jobs to pay the bar bills.The next few involved his attempts to beat the bottle,and latterly and up to the latest book, (Everybody Dies)he's rebuilding his life.There is at least two years between each book and as the time has passed in Scudder's world too it's like revisiting old friends.Don't however mistake this series for a gentle soap opera-the violence and crimes are often disturbing and graphic.Pick of these books would be 'A Walk among the tombstones' in which a drog dealer's missing wife leads to brutality and a moral crossroads. Block's other main characters include Bernie Rhoddenbar an ex-burglar who now sells books.Missing the excitement Bernie still does jobs as favours or when bl
      ackmailed.These books have a more caperish feel and although a murder is usually involved the books are played more for laughs.Although a chap in the books Whoopee Goldberg played the part in the rotten flick 'Burglar'.I find these a good lightweight 'airport' read and again there is a back catalogue of around a dozen titles all of which are titled "The Burglar who...". Other less travelled characters include Evan Tanner who is a ruthless hitman,Chip Harrison a lighthearted cop and Martin Erengraph a shyster lawer who never loses even if it means a bit of evidence tampering or murder. On the whole Block's body and variety of work is unsurpassed and I've yet to read a poor book baring his name.Give him a try -if you enjoy it your reading matter for the next couple of years will be taken care of!.

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