Lawrence Block, Hope to Die


Lawrence Block is a Grand Master and living legend of American crime fiction. Regarded by some aficionados as just about the coolest of the noir writers, his Scudder series is certainly one of the high points of American detective fiction during recent times. Block is the writer the others point to as the writers’ writer. This book is one of his Matt Scudder detective novels with a long appreciation by best selling horror writer Peter Straub.

Out of Stock

Lawrence Block has been, and continues to be, the most industrious purveyor of a wide range of American crime fiction; from comic to the tragic, the ridiculous to the sublime, light-hearted to the most serious of subjects – it is all in his range. Block is the one the others point to as the master craftsman of the genre. With a shelf full of awards (including four Edgars, four Shamus Awards, two Maltese Falcon Awards, the Nero Wolfe Award, and Grandmaster status from the Mystery Writers of America, and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association of the United Kingdom), he is the one others point to as the master craftsman of the genre. Compulsive plots, deft characterisation and dialogue the zing’s. Lawrence Block continues to be the bench mark for high quality noir.

Hope to Die (2001) is the fifteenth entry in the Matt Scudder series that currently stands at seventeen. Plotline: 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 the locked door of a Brooklyn hellhole — one apparently slain by his partner in crime who then took his own life. There’s something drawing Matthew Scudder to this case that the cops have quickly and eagerly closed: a nagging suspicion that a third man is involved, a cold, diabolical puppet master who manipulates his two accomplices, then cuts their strings when he’s done with them. No one but Scudder even suspects he exists. And his worst fear is that the guy is just getting started …

A Lawrence Block story appeared in the anthology No Alibi and he did an appreciation of Ian Rankin for the short story collection Beggars Banquet. Other Scorpion Press edition by Block are All the Flowers are Dying and The Burglar in the Library. Hope to Die contains an extensive appreciation of the Matt Scudder series by Peter Straub. New York based Straub is a friend and member of the same writers’ workshop. He is a best selling horror writer.

5.00 out of 5

2 reviews for Lawrence Block, Hope to Die

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Carl Brookins, Goodreads on June 6, 2012 :

    Carl Brookins, Goodreads
    Mystery Grand Master Lawrence Block has produced another outstanding piece of noir literature, and another adventure in the life of unlicensed investigator, Matthew Scudder. One of the accomplishments of this series is the many ways in which Matt Scudder continues to evolve as a person. Now married to Elaine and living in relative luxury in Manhattan, Scudder no longer can be seen as the rumpled, somewhat seedy street scuffler, scuttling across the mean streets of New York. In fact, he’s learning the intricacies of the cyber age, however reluctantly and he even has an erstwhile assistant.

    Yet with all these changes, and some others, Scudder retains his elementary inquisitiveness and his concerns about truth and justice and right and wrong. And if there’s one thing he still hates, its loose ends. So after a night at the concert hall, he and Elaine discover that although they didn’t know them, they were in the same room with another couple, Byrne and Susan Hollander. The Hollanders, according to the newspaper, were brutally murdered just a short while after attending the concert. Well, in the big city, such intersections do occur. Scudder is put off but not engaged. However, a few days later he learns that two men have been found by the police along with convincing evidence that they robbed and murdered the Hollanders. Case closed. The more he thinks about it, the more Scudder senses something isn’t quite right. And so, Matt Scudder begins to pick at the edges, worrying the loose threads he sometimes feels more than sees. And things begin to unravel. leading to more questions, more answers and a tortuous path through the sunny jungles of New York.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Ensiform, Goodreads 5 stars on June 6, 2012 :

    Ensiform, Goodreads 5 stars

    The fifteenth Matt Scudder mystery. After a wealthy couple are killed in a brutal home invasion, Scudder is hired by their daughter to investigate the killings, despite the fact that the killers seem to be dead in a cut-and-dried murder-suicide.

    While typically gritty, this book differs from the rest of the series in a few minor ways. For the first time, another character besides Scudder narrates in a few brief chapters; Block does a wonderful job here of evoking an egotistical, calculating, deranged intelligence, a man whose plots are so Machiavellian that his crimes would seem to have no motive at all. Indeed, he is so many steps ahead of the law that Scudder’s brand of rough justice seems not to touch him. In all, this is a terrific thriller, probably the very finest of the series; the now sixty-something Scudder is as dogged as ever, with Elaine and TJ providing good backup, and TJ’s use of technology, while dated, not the laughing stock it had been in A Walk Among the Tomstones. Mick Ballou has a very brief and very cool cameo, as well. In terms of hard-boiled drama on the mean streets, I doubt there’s a more satisfying thriller out there. [Read twice]

Add Review

Add a review