A Drop of the Hard Stuff

A Drop of the Hard Stuff

A Matthew Scudder Novel

Large Print - 2011
Average Rating:
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"Right up there with Mr. Block's best....A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF keeps us guessing."--Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

Facing 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.
Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books, c2011
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9780316178044
Branch Call Number: LP BLOC
Characteristics: 431 p. ; 25 cm

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19coco55 Mar 27, 2014

this is the first Block I've read.
thought it was total crap!
it is nothing more than back door religion with AA and 12 step B.S.
he must mention AA, 200 times in first 50 pages(all I could take.

r
ritalatabooks
Apr 09, 2013

No one writes of New York City, and AA meetings like Lawrence Block. He drags you into the life of a recovering Alcoholic, the effort, the struggle, and pull of the drink, plus a good story to go with it.

c
chickie2
Mar 05, 2013

Not the absolutely perfect book, but a good read and I now better understand now what AA and the steps are about.

dhankins22 Sep 16, 2012

start with 1st in series

l
loudem
Jun 13, 2012

Block is one of my favorite writers. I read loads of his books. Now this last one is a bit paranoid. The Alcoholic Anonymous theme is, to my taste, overdone. The first half of the book is just a lot filler, mixing AA, booze, and the list from that step (a forgot which). There is no detective work here. The story starts to pick up steam in the second half of the book (somewhat). There are some killings, suicides, murder, sex, and AA meetings ( way too much. So much so I had to get a beer ). The end is a bit fuzzy with no resolution ( maybe the culprit dies in an accident or is it suicide (again)). Disappointing to say the least. One thing’s for sure, I’m staying away anyone who’s AA or any AA place. What a drab life they have. And with this, I think I’ll get another beer. Maybe Block should do the same and rethink the way he writes. Can’t wait to read his next book!

k
kubux96
Mar 24, 2012

One of the weaker Scudders. Perhaps it's time to let Matt and Elaine fade away...

bdemian Feb 06, 2012

An interesting plot and Block's customary solid prose get bogged down in tedious. repetitive detours into the AA program; the demons of alcoholism; and the redemptive possibilities of atonement. Too much guit-complex all around. But great nostalgic atmosphere for a vanished time and place.

d
deRougemont
Jun 16, 2011

There is a reason that Lawrence Block has been awarded the designation of "Grand Master" by "The Mystery Writers of America".
His skills as both a writer and a storyteller are evident in this fine mystery.

debwalker Jun 02, 2011

Sometimes you open a novel and you just know you're in the hands of a master. In the case of Lawrence Block's latest Matt Scudder mystery, the tipoff is a brazenly simple plot premise, faultlessly executed. A Drop of the Hard Stuff is a prequel to the other 15 novels in the Scudder series. The opening finds Matt recalling the murder of a boyhood pal of his named Jack Ellery. Matt had reconnected with Ellery years ago at an AA meeting. Ellery was then working his way through the 12 steps and had just embarked on No. 9: making amends to people he'd harmed while he was drinking. Except someone silences Ellery before he can begin confessing to past crimes.

Like a lot of great mystery fiction, A Drop of the Hard Stuff is also a ghost story. Matt's attempt to exorcise his phantoms results in a classic tale about the stubborn persistence of memory and regret.

Maureen Corrigan
NPR

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