[Reading] ➸ A Stab in the Dark ➮ Lawrence Block – Buyprobolan50.co.uk

A Stab in the Dark Louis Pinell, The Recently Apprehended Icepick Prowler, Freely Admits To Having Slain Seven Young Women Nine Years Ago But Be Swears It Was A Copycat Who Killed Barbara Ettinger Matthew Scudder Believes Him But The Trail To Ettinger S True Murderer Is Twisted, Dark And Dangerousand Even Colder Than The Almost Decade Old Corpse The Pi Is Determined To Avenge


10 thoughts on “A Stab in the Dark

  1. says:

    This fourth book in the Matt Scudder series is an absorbing mystery in itself, but it also deepens and darkens Block s portrait of his hard drinking, guilt ridden hero, and, through the use of two effective foils an alcoholic woman sculptor and a damaged former cop , increases Scudder s self knowledge and points him toward change.Scudder is hired to investigate the case of Barbara Ettinger, classified as a victim of The Icepick Killer when she was murdered nine years ago But The Icepick Kil This fourth book in the Matt Scudder series is an absorbing mystery in itself, but it also deepens and darkens Block s portrait of his hard drinking, guilt ridden hero, and, through the use of two effective foils an alcoholic woman sculptor and a damaged former cop , increases Scudder s self knowledge and points him toward change.Scudder is hired to investigate the case of Barbara Ettinger, classified as a victim of The Icepick Killer when she was murdered nine years ago But The Icepick Killer has recently been caught and although he has frankly confessed to all the other crimes he claims he had nothing to do with the Ettinger stabbing Her father has begun to wonder could the murderer be someone his daughter knew, someone closer to home Scudder, fueled by coffee laced with bourbon, takes a trip through Barbara s old neighborhood, uncovering witnesses, secrets, and suspects, and as bourbon overwhelms the coffee a few glimmers of truth about himself.This is the first great Scudder novel, perfectly balanced between the tale itself and the evolution of the detective s character, and as such it is a crucial influence on the later adventures of Dave Robicheaux, Harry Bosch and others too numerous to name Essential reading for anyone who loves the hard boiled detective novel


  2. says:

    Nine years ago, eight women were gruesomely slain with an icepick The killer was finally apprehended and it turns out he was in an asylum at the time of the eighth murder So who the hell killed Barbara Ettinger That s what her father, Charles London, is paying Matthew Scudder to find outLawrence Block does it again In the fourth volume, Matthew Scudder struggles with his alcoholism and follows a trail nine years cold Once again, Block did a good job tricking me into thinking I knew who t Nine years ago, eight women were gruesomely slain with an icepick The killer was finally apprehended and it turns out he was in an asylum at the time of the eighth murder So who the hell killed Barbara Ettinger That s what her father, Charles London, is paying Matthew Scudder to find outLawrence Block does it again In the fourth volume, Matthew Scudder struggles with his alcoholism and follows a trail nine years cold Once again, Block did a good job tricking me into thinking I knew who the killer was Scudder continues to struggle with his alcoholism The supporting cast is well done, especially Jan.The Matthew Scudder series continues to be one of my favorites Lawrence Block continues to wow me


  3. says:

    Matthew Scudder prowls the streets of New York City for the fourth time in A Stab in the Dark By now the character has been firmly established Matt is an ex cop who left the force under tragic circumstances and who now works unofficially as a private detective He doesn t have a license he doesn t pay taxes, and he doesn t fill out paperwork But sometimes he does a favor for a friend and the friend shows her or her gratitude by giving Matt money.He also drinks Heavily by this point But Matthew Scudder prowls the streets of New York City for the fourth time in A Stab in the Dark By now the character has been firmly established Matt is an ex cop who left the force under tragic circumstances and who now works unofficially as a private detective He doesn t have a license he doesn t pay taxes, and he doesn t fill out paperwork But sometimes he does a favor for a friend and the friend shows her or her gratitude by giving Matt money.He also drinks Heavily by this point But he refuses to consider himself an alcoholic and insists that he could stop anytime he wants to He doesn t want to yet, even though he now experiences periodic blackouts But still, his drinking is not yet interfering with his ability to get the job done.Insurance executive Charles F London needs a favor Nine years earlier, his daughter, Barbara Ettinger, was viciously stabbed to death, apparently by a maniac who was known as the Ice Pick Killer and who claimed seven other victims Finally, by a stroke of luck, the madman has now been captured The only problem is that, while he admits to the seven other killings, he insists that he did not kill Ettinger He also has an iron clad alibi for the time Ettinger was murdered, given that he was in custody on that day.London had come to whatever peace he could find, assuming that his daughter s death was simply an inexplicable piece of bad luck Now, though, his world is upended again when it appears that Barbara was killed perhaps for a reason and that the murderer is still at large The cops claim there s nothing they can do, given the time that has elapsed, and so London walks into Armstrong s saloon and asks Scudder to take on the job Scudder agrees, although he tells London that the odds are very slight The trail will be just as cold for him as it is for the cops, and he doesn t even have their official standing Scudder then does what Scudder does After depositing ten percent of the fee in a church s Poor Box, he begins pounding the streets, tracking down his pathetically thin leads and fortifying himself withthan the occasional drink, for maintenance purposes of course He s an enormously intriguing character and, as is always the case in this series, the plot is interesting and well developed As in the first three books, it s great fun walking the streets of the big city with Matthew Scudder, although by this point one can t help but be increasingly concerned for his health and well being A word of caution Anyone interested in dipping into this series would be very well advised to start with the first book, The Sins of the Fathers Trust me when I say that you want to be on this ride from the very beginning


  4. says:

    The brandy, I told myself Probably be a good idea to stay away from it Stick to what you re used to Stick to bourbon I went on over to Armstrong s A little bourbon would take the edge off the brandy rush A little bourbon would take the edge off almost anythingA Stab in the Dark Ah, Matt Things are getting pretty dark for you my friend Rock bottom is rushing up to meet you at about 200 miles an hour It s going to hit like a freight train and I m afraid you won t even see it coming Ca The brandy, I told myself Probably be a good idea to stay away from it Stick to what you re used to Stick to bourbon I went on over to Armstrong s A little bourbon would take the edge off the brandy rush A little bourbon would take the edge off almost anythingA Stab in the Dark Ah, Matt Things are getting pretty dark for you my friend Rock bottom is rushing up to meet you at about 200 miles an hour It s going to hit like a freight train and I m afraid you won t even see it coming Cause we all know denial is not just a river in Egypt.As you may have guessed, what marks this fourth installment of Lawrence Block s Scudder series, isn t the unsolved nine year old murder, or Scudder s uncanny ability to solve it with his characteristic dogged style, but his further descent into excessive boozing, blackouts and hangovers He meets a woman this time that suffers from the same malady as Matt, but she has a name for it alcoholic Matt bristles at this term, because as far as he s concerned he can stop drinking any time he wants Like any good boozer who ain t ready to jump on that proverbial wagon and stay there, Matt doesn t see himself as having a problem He sees himself as still in control I acutely felt Matt s loneliness and guilt in this one It s a sad book really Even the crime is a sad one that should never have happened in the first place Now on to Book 5 Eight Million Ways to Die What s in store for you, Matt How bad is this going to get before it gets better


  5. says:

    When you ve hit a point where you ve read hundreds of books and age starts to degrade your memory, you sometimes doubt your previous assessments I d read most of the Scudder novels anywhere from 10 to 15 years ago, and while I thought they were very good, I d started to wonder if they were actually as good as I remembered Having reread the first four, I m very happy to find that these are actually even better than I originally thought.Matt gets hired by a man whose daughter, Barbara, was suppo When you ve hit a point where you ve read hundreds of books and age starts to degrade your memory, you sometimes doubt your previous assessments I d read most of the Scudder novels anywhere from 10 to 15 years ago, and while I thought they were very good, I d started to wonder if they were actually as good as I remembered Having reread the first four, I m very happy to find that these are actually even better than I originally thought.Matt gets hired by a man whose daughter, Barbara, was supposedly killed by a serial killer with an icepick nine years earlier The killer was recently caught but while he s confessing to the other murders, he denies killing Barbara The cops aren t interested in screwing up the gift of getting multiple homicides cleared off the books so they won t bother looking into it, but one of the detectives has steered the father to Matt, who briefly worked the murder when he was still a cop Matt doubts he can turn anything up, but agrees to look into it.As with the other Matt Scudder books, the mystery and resolution are intriguing enough, but what really sets these books apart is the character arc of Scudder himself Block cleverly never gave us much direct introspection from Matt despite being written in the first person At first glance, it seems like many things don t seem to effect him at all, but over the course of the series, particularly these early books, you realize that Matt is a guy consumed with guilt and self hatred Matt s a very decent guy, but he freely admits to taking money as a cop and a large part of his unlicensed PI business comes from paying kickbacks to the police He left the cops after accidentally shooting and killing a young girl while breaking up a robbery and subsequently walked out on his wife and kids to start living in a cheap hotel room This book is yet another stage in Matt s relationship to the booze where he gets dangerously drunk without realizing it, and it s the first time that he even starts to consider the idea that he may be an alcoholic, even if he quickly denies it This is another short but powerful book that again shows that Block can deliverstory and createheartbreaking characters in 180 pages than most writers can in a lifetime


  6. says:

    These Matthew Scudder books aren t action packed, sometimes they re even slow, but boy howdy, do I ever enjoy them I like the picture you get of New York City in the 70s At least with these first few books in the series I m not sure about the rest, because I haven t read them I love Scudder s character He s not in it for the money Admirable I like the light mystery involved in each book Lawrence Block keeps you guessing All of these things and probably a fewI m forgetting right n These Matthew Scudder books aren t action packed, sometimes they re even slow, but boy howdy, do I ever enjoy them I like the picture you get of New York City in the 70s At least with these first few books in the series I m not sure about the rest, because I haven t read them I love Scudder s character He s not in it for the money Admirable I like the light mystery involved in each book Lawrence Block keeps you guessing All of these things and probably a fewI m forgetting right now just jive really well with my reading tastes Usually with these books there s a certain amount of psychology, as in the psychology of the killer However, in A Stab in the Dark we get evenof a look at why Psycho killers and their copycats are given a decent an examination here It s not super deep These Scudder books are fairly short after all However, it is about as long as you d want it to be in a crime fiction pleasure read.So, book 4 in the series was a success and I ll definitely be moving on to 5


  7. says:

    I was in kind of a cranky mood when I began this installment of my adventures with Matthew Scudder in one of those nitpicky modes where anything that can annoy you will do so I even got so far as starting on a bit of a tirade regarding the use of an icepick as a murder weapon see below But, this is what makes Lawrence Block such a stud of an author if I had just been patient, I would have saved myself from my own ramblings re the dangerous weapon of choice, as Scudder, too, takes issue wi I was in kind of a cranky mood when I began this installment of my adventures with Matthew Scudder in one of those nitpicky modes where anything that can annoy you will do so I even got so far as starting on a bit of a tirade regarding the use of an icepick as a murder weapon see below But, this is what makes Lawrence Block such a stud of an author if I had just been patient, I would have saved myself from my own ramblings re the dangerous weapon of choice, as Scudder, too, takes issue with the instrument of choice.This isn t much in the way of a review, but, for me, it says quite a lot when I can enjoy a story in spite of myself Block s answers to the question of who dunnit are never so simple that they feel predictable, and this time was no exception Also, in case anyone else isn t up on their street knife knowledge, here are my animated findings as per gravity and or butterfly knives A Murderous Query I have a lot of questions vis vis the literary use of icepicks as murder weapons What kind of icepicks are we talking about Like the really long needle kind I ve gone ice climbing though not very well and I get where an ice axe would make a useful murder weapon though difficult to conceal , and I ve used an ice chipper, which would be a pretty terrible murder weapon since you d have to contend with several dermal layers hard to scrape someone to death So, are we just talking the long needley kind that look like awls Does one use a hammer as a driver, because I feel like it d be hard to get the necessary momentum going for a really good puncture wound just by hanging on to that wooden grip You might just inadvertently perform a transorbital lobotomy which, while destructive, might not suit your needs Why not just use a meat thermometer If there are any icepick assassins out there, please respond at your nearest convenience as this has been troubling me for some time


  8. says:

    A lightweight read at only 156 pages Good suspense and interesting mystery.In this one, a serial killer is caught by police The catch He only confesses to seven of the murders and has an airtight alibi for the eighth The father of the eighth victim realizes he needs a new kind of closure and hires Scudder to investigate He pursues it like a terrier hanging on, chasing down leads from nine years ago, drinking his way through the city After he interviews the remarried husband and his new wi A lightweight read at only 156 pages Good suspense and interesting mystery.In this one, a serial killer is caught by police The catch He only confesses to seven of the murders and has an airtight alibi for the eighth The father of the eighth victim realizes he needs a new kind of closure and hires Scudder to investigate He pursues it like a terrier hanging on, chasing down leads from nine years ago, drinking his way through the city After he interviews the remarried husband and his new wife, he looks up the owner of the daycare center where the victim worked She s now a sculptor in the Village and struggling with alcohol as well Personal collides with professional Eventually, the client makes a feeble effort to call Scudder off, but like the terrier down the rat hole, he won t let up.This one is notable for Scudder s drinking picking up pace, clearly speeding him along to rock bottom Slowly, it dawned on me as I read that Scudder s drinking was out of control There s a few moments when he realizes it and pulls back, but never for long It s interesting the way Block writes it the murders capture the reader s attention while Scudder slowly slides off the bar stool in the background Definitely a likeable read, with a surprise ending to the murder that I m not entirely sure was believable


  9. says:

    Days off, laying on the sofa reading Sweet dreams are made of these Add a drunken PI on a self destructive life path and the dream turns slightly darker Hooray for Lawrence Block Matt Scudder, unlicensed PI returns for his fourth instalment, this time doing a favour for a bereaved father who has recently discovered that his dead daughter is the only victim of a captured serial killer that he couldn t possibly have murdered Oncetreading the unsafe streets of New York, bourbon and coff Days off, laying on the sofa reading Sweet dreams are made of these Add a drunken PI on a self destructive life path and the dream turns slightly darker Hooray for Lawrence Block Matt Scudder, unlicensed PI returns for his fourth instalment, this time doing a favour for a bereaved father who has recently discovered that his dead daughter is the only victim of a captured serial killer that he couldn t possibly have murdered Oncetreading the unsafe streets of New York, bourbon and coffee constantly sustaining his alcoholism, Scudder won t rest until he has found justice for a slain maiden.The thing with Scudder is that his alcoholism and self hatred has become an obvious character trait by now BUT can his penchant for cases involving dead young women three from three early Scudder novels also be considered one It seems like Horatio Caine could be given a run for his money in this game.Plotwise this is probably the entry with the most procedural work from the protagonist, most notable being the time spent pumping dimes in to payphones, adding to his usual haphazard approach towards following lines of investigation You may think that he s getting nowhere but somehow all his questions and all his footwork are enough to force the villain of the piece in to an error and thus the case gets solved seemingly out of the blue.I ve been reading the Martin Beck series of detective novels alongside these Scudder s and it seems to me that the Swedes get a lot of credit for planning a complete 10 book series in advance criticising society, the police force etc but the obvious development of Matt Scudder in these books from Lawrence Block and their unflinching portrait of New York as a microcosm for America as a cesspit of decaying morals including the police department required just as much forethought and planning and is equally as impressive if notso


  10. says:

    In The Midst of Death, finally, a former colleague asks him how he is doing, asks him about drinking, suggests he doesn t have to climb back inside the bottle when things go south And they do, and he does In this book, a woman named Janice Corwin he interviews for the case calls him out, while they are drinking You know what we are, Matthew We re both a couple of drunks, and he goes so far at this point to admit he is in the drinking life If this were a book simply about crime, well, In The Midst of Death, finally, a former colleague asks him how he is doing, asks him about drinking, suggests he doesn t have to climb back inside the bottle when things go south And they do, and he does In this book, a woman named Janice Corwin he interviews for the case calls him out, while they are drinking You know what we are, Matthew We re both a couple of drunks, and he goes so far at this point to admit he is in the drinking life If this were a book simply about crime, well, the alcoholism not just boozing hangover detective clich s in these four books would be just a good background trait But in these books, and in this book in particular, the story is marked by the ex cop unlicensed detective Matthew Scudder s steady, marked descent into the bottle, inch by inch Struggles decisions not to drink in the morning, or when offered while working then binges, then retreats with less church,bars, less coffee,bourbon The balance tips to decline And as he says, I am still able to do my work, so I think I m pretty much okay Is my hand shaking Okay, a little, but it s not too bad But a kid asks him for a match after he leaves a bar and Scudder thinks he is being tailed and the guy intends to scare him off the case, so Scudder beats him up, takes his knife and money The next day Scudder realizes he has blacked out some of the evening before beating up the kid and he worries Wait, maybe he just really did want a match, am I losing it We do think he is losing it A Stab in the Dark is a superb novel about booze addiction which has a kind of typical detective novel title that fits the crime, but in this terrific book, the crime serves to help us understand the character, linking that crime to Scudder s own need to expiate his own guilt Nine years ago, Scudder was given a commendation for killing one punk and paralyzing another who had robbed and murdered a guy, but in the process of shooting these two kids he accidentally kills a nine year old girl and hereafter, his life falls apart.Also nine years ago Scudder was working on a serial murder case with two other cops, wherein a guy, the Ice Pick Prowler, had killed 7 women 8 had actually been killed, but the convicted murderer adamantly denied having killed the 8th woman, Barbara Ettinger Nine years later, Barbara s father hires Scudder to find his daughter s killer because he like Scudder needs closure Why Scudder Because, as Ettinger points out to him, Scudder is someone who cares about the truth In the process of doing the investigation Scudder talks to two people who like him stopped living their lives over a terrible crime For these two people, it happens to be this very case Janice was a neighbor of Barbra Ettinger and pre school teacher and things kind of just fell apart for Janice when her friend Barbara died The same thing happens to one of Scudder s former colleagues on the case the serial killer just made him realize he couldn t do this kind of work any These two people help Scudder begin to see that he has given up as they have He must face this truth, and he is not quite ready to, but it is both of them that lead him closer and closer to his truth I was surprised and moved by the ending as it pertains to Scudder and both of these people Nine years can Scudder, can Scudder s ex colleague, can Janice face the truth and recover their lives This book, a Stab in the Dark, features Dostoevsky level guilt and alcoholism and complicated relationships as Scudder drinks with the also drunk Janice It and the next one, Eight Million Ways to Die belongs on the shelf with every great novel of the destruction of lives through booze, including the short stories of Raymond Carver and Malcolm Lowry s Under the Volcano