Lawrence Block - Crime Thrillers USA

Urban Noir Master

For those who love top fiction crime thrillers and police procedurals, Lawrence Block’s mystery books ought be on a must read list.

Although Block has not limited himself to the Matthew Scudder series, they are the ones I most look forward to.

A talented and prolific crime writer, Block has a superb feel for atmosphere and the chinks in our humanity. He’s probably at his mordant best with the Scudder thriller novels which are also thoughtful, richly textured and peopled by unforgettable characters who are among Block's most enduring creations: such as his wife Elaine, streetwise sidekick TJ; old buddy, Mick Ballou, the murderous and hard-drinking Irish mobster with a deeply philosophical streak.

Block's books weave strands of seamless thought and action, and he has a matchless gift for dialogue that is true, funny and revealing. Very realistic fiction indeed.

He has a number of series to his credit, the best of them are the Matt Scudder novels – but that’s only a personal preference as they are all very good.

Like the other American authors, Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch); John Lescroart (Dismas Hardy) and James Lee Burke (Dave Roibicheeaux); we have in Lawrence Block's Scudder a character who evolves with each succeeding novel garnering our interest in him - as well as the storylines.

You would think that by the 16th novel in a series, an author might become a bit bored with his characters, a bit sloppy in his writing. Thankfully, Lawrence Block is no such writer.

No pulp fiction hack, Block has consistently maintained a high standard throughout his various series. Contrived plotting, formulaic writing and predictable denouements are not a part of his repertoire – than God!

He maintains our interest and our fingers constantly page turning with gems of human interest, challenging scenarios and insights into the world of both the best and worst of human nature and behaviour.

The Matthew Scudder Novels (Order of Release)

Emotional depth which you don’t find in many crime thrillers

      The Sins of the Fathers (1st Scudder Book)
      Time to Murder and Create
      In the Midst of Death
      A Stab in the Dark
      Eight Million Ways to Die (winner of the Shamus Award)
      When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (the author notes that this is a Scudder prequel)
      On the Cutting Edge
      A Ticket to the Boneyard
      A Dance at the Slaughterhouse (winner of the Edgar)
      A Walk Among the Tombstones
      The Devil Knows You’re Dead (winner of the Shamus Award)
      A Long Line of Dead Men
      Even the Wicked
      Everybody dies
      Hope to Die
      All The Flowers are Dying
I recently caught up with the last book - and was saddened when I realised this seems to be the last of the Matt Scudder books. Hope I'm wrong.

Berbie Rhodenbarr Series

Antiquarian bookseller by day, burglar by night, Bernie has an innate knack, a gift, for getting into places designed to keep him out and has an unfortunate tendency to find corpses in the apartments he's burgling. The Bernie books are consistently amusing and enjoyable 11 books.

Keller Series - I have yet to read these mystery books.

Evan Tanner - Block's first character - 8 Books - I have yet to read these.

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