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Matthew Scudder Books In Order

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Publication Order of Matthew Scudder Books

The Sins of the Fathers (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Time to Murder and Create (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Midst of Death (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Stab in the Dark (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Eight Million Ways to Die (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Out on the Cutting Edge (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Ticket to the Boneyard (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Dance at the Slaughterhouse (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Walk Among the Tombstones (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Devil Knows You're Dead (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Long Line of Dead Men (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Even the Wicked (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Out the Window (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Everybody Dies (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hope to Die (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Moment of Wrong Thinking (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
All the Flowers are Dying (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Drop of the Hard Stuff (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Let's Get Lost (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Candle for the Bag Lady (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Time to Scatter Stones (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Autobiography of Matthew Scudder (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Matthew Scudder is a fictional character who appears in a series of crime fiction novels by an American Novelist Lawrence Block, which is set in the New York City. Out of the many different characters that have been created by Lawrence Block, one can confidently conclude that, Matthew Scudder is the most outstanding of them all. Matthew Scudder is a recovering alcoholic, which has been suggested in the autobiographical of Block.

Matthew Scudder is a fictional private detective, the most popular and enduring creation of American thrilling crime writer, Lawrence Block. Below here is a list of some of the Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder great books in order of when they were originally released, which are the origin of Matt bibliography.

The Matthew Scudder series debuted back in 1976’s, The Sins of the Fathers as an alcoholic ex-cop who has just quit the NYDP and his family mysteriously after accidentally being the cause of a young girl’s death. Living in a rent-controlled hotel room in Hell’s Kitchen, he earns his living as an unlicensed private investigator or as he claims “doing favors to his friends”. But slowly drinks his way into his grave and reading everyday’s atrocities in the papers, this series most dominant theme is mortality; the early entries is filled with scenes of Matthew Scudder alone in churches, tithing his minimal income, lighting candles for whatever imaginary figures that happen to be in his mind- and mostly for the girl whose life he had accidentally taken away.

The appeared to have come to a powerful, emotional-charged climax, with the classic( often cited as the best Matthew Scudder series), Shamus-winning Eight Million Ways to Die, is the first one to notably move the character forward, when Matthew Scudder finally realizes he is an alcoholic.

Block planned to end the series there, but a few years later, after having made everyone understand that the series was definitely over and that he was so done with it, remembered a promise he had made to a dear editor friend to supply him with an original short story, which resulted to By the Dawn’s Early Light, a story set during Matthew Scudder’s drinking days but the story is told from the perspective of an alcoholic recover-er. This short story was published in Playboy, and it also grabbed a Shamus. Later on Block expanded on that with 1986’s novel, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, this series, not only did it resurrect the rest series, but it also proved to be a favorite of both the fans and the author. Since then, the series effectively evolved, as Matthew Scudder, now a serious recovering alcoholic, slowly comes to terms with his dear life.

From then on, Matt’s circumstances seldom remain the same for long: in this other entry, A Ticket to the Boneyard reunites Scudder with Elaine Mardell, he was a hooker from his days on the force, this story, concludes with him staging the suicide of a man who had threatened their lives- a decision that he remembers in a number of sequel volumes. In the later books, as he gradually comes to terms with his life, he even becomes licensed, and he’s been even thing of getting married and becoming a serious family man.

There are some really great characters in this series that include the reformed call girl who turned to be an art dealer and had interest in loving, and thereafter, a wife, her name is Elaine, then, TJ, who was a chameleon-like street-savvy black kid, who is gradually becoming Matthew Scudder’s full-time assistant; Mick Ballou, the unrepentant Irish mobster and lastly but not the least, the bar owner who has become Scudder’s best friend.

And I tend to agree that the most finely-etched character is the New York itself. The Matthew Scudder series, with its very harsh New York backdrop, designed in Block’s bittersweet writing style, is not for the mild. But it is not just a string of progressively empty nightmares either. As one character puts it in a Dance at the Slaughterhouse, “drunk or sober”, it will definitely tear your heart into pieces”. Actually he was not referring to the series, but he might as well be referring to it.

As if that is not enough, there was a film made of Eight Million Ways to Die,in which the setting was moved to Southern California and Matt Scudder becomes a Sheriff’s deputy . Although the result might make you to go drinking,the movie shortens his back-story to involve killing an adult drug dealer, in-front of the dealer’s family instead of a young girl on a darkened street. Excluding the obvious awesome performance by Jeff Bridges in the lead and a nerve-wreckage showdown in a bare warehouse, it is such an embarrassing mess, which has been poorly-made, poorly-written as well as poorly executed, made all more awesome by some of the talent that was involved.

The Matthew Scudder’s dark, confined nature, buttoned-down the Manhattan city bars and gin mills is as well californicated up, thus leaving us with a boring sentimental sun-shiny flashbacks and Hallmark stalkers, an example is this particular line,( “do you consider yourself a pappy person?” my ass!), a couple in love basically walking hand in Hand on the beach and it’s just that all the way, huh, way too bright and shiny and up with people. It is a miracle that screenwriter Oliver Stoner ever got to work again after this awful huge mess. Just for the record, imagine the film was not even released on DVD in the United State of America.

Hopefully, the upcoming adaptation of A Walk Among the Tombstones, which Matthew Scudder is being played by Liam Neeson, and being directed by Scott Frank, that is set to premier in September 2014, will be more satisfying that the latter.

Author Lawrence Block is fans favorite as well as a writer’s writer. Just like Matthew Scudder, he has also being responsible for the Evan Tanner, Bernie Rhodenbar and Chip Harrison mystery series. But according to my opinion, I think it is in the Scudder Series where he really shines most. The Eight Million Ways to Die is simply one of the bests PI novels of all the seasons, again, even Everybody Dies, and is not too bad either.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Matthew Scudder

One Response to “Matthew Scudder”

  1. John: 3 years ago

    I came very very late to this series and I have no idea how I missed it.
    I read a later one and I became hooked ! I’m reading about 3-4 books a week. I started back at the beginning and reading in order of release ,I just finished Hope to Die.
    The funny thing is I worked for a man who owned 2 of the bars mentioned frequently.

    Anyway highly recommended,


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