Cover image for A drop of the hard stuff : a Matthew Scudder novel
A drop of the hard stuff : a Matthew Scudder novel
Block, Lawrence.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Co., [2011]

Physical Description:
431 pages (large print) ; 25 cm
Format :


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LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print
LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print

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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.

Author Notes

Lawrence Block is the author of the popular series' featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr, Matthew Scudder, and Chip Harrison. Over 2 million copies of Lawrence Block's books are in print. He has published articles and short fiction in American Heritage, Redbook, Playboy, GQ, and The New York Times, and has published several collections of short fiction in book form, most recently Collected Mystery Stories.

Block is a Grand Master of Mystery Writers of America. He has won the Edgar and Shamus awards four times, the Japanese Maltese Falcon award twice, as well as the Nero Wolfe award. In France, he was proclaimed a Grand Maitre du Roman Noir and has been awarded the Societe 813 trophy twice. Block was presented with the key to the city of Muncie, Indiana, and is a past president of the Private Eye Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

(Bowker Author Biography) Lawrence Block is the author of the popular series featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr, Matthew Scudder, and Chip Harrison. Over 2 million copies of Lawrence Block's books are in print. Lawrence Block has won the Edgar Award three times, the Shamus Award four times, the Maltese Falcon Award twice, and was named Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* When a character ages from book to book, a series has a built-in life span. At some point, the hero can only walk the mean streets with the help of a cane. Given Block's allegiance to verisimilitude and that he returns to a series only when he has something fresh for the characters to say and do, readers might have wondered whether they'd ever see Matt Scudder again, after the powerful ending of All the Flowers Are Dying (2005). Scudder is indeed back, but with a story from the past, told to Mick Ballou over a late-night drink of club soda. The premise is typical of Block's genius. It's so perfect that you can't believe you haven't seen it before. As Scudder nears his first anniversary of sobriety, he's hired to investigate the murder of another alcoholic who may have been killed because he was following the Twelve Steps to the letter, for when you make amends to a partner in crime, he's going to wonder who else you've been talking to. Scudder fans, and there are many, will enjoy both the mystery and the history, glimpsing characters who did (and didn't) make it into the later story line. And the prose, as always, is like the club soda Scudder sips in the opening pages: cool, fizzy, and completely refreshing.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

MWA Grand Master Block's powerful 17th novel featuring PI Matthew Scudder (after 2005's All the Flowers Were Dying) explores the challenges of an alcoholic attempting to atone for his past misdeeds. In 1970 or '71, Scudder, then a Manhattan NYPD detective, recognizes a guy he knew in grade school in the Bronx, Jack Ellery, in a police lineup to identify a robber. The victim picks someone else as the man who held her up at gunpoint, though Ellery's the guilty party. Years later, after Scudder has left the force, he meets Ellery, now an ex-con, at an AA meeting, where Ellery is trying to take the ninth step-making amends to all the people he'd harmed. Scudder's efforts to solve the murder that results from Ellery's quest for absolution place his own sobriety-and life-at risk. Block's pitch-perfect prose bolsters the elegiac plot. Accessible to first-timers, this book should add many more fans to the author's considerable following. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

This 17th installment of Block's long-running series about New York private detective Matthew Scudder (the first since 2005's All the Flowers Are Dying) has Scudder reflecting on an old case from the 1980s, less than a year after he joined Alcoholics Anonymous. Scudder's childhood friend (and fellow AA member) Jack Ellery is murdered while trying to make up for past deeds as part of his 12-step program, and Scudder is hired by Ellery's AA sponsor to investigate. Meanwhile, Scudder struggles to maintain his nascent sobriety. As with all of Block's Scudder novels, the mystery here is engaging but secondary to the author's sharp insights into human nature and life in the big city. The deftly handled nostalgic tone this time around adds to the appeal. VERDICT Fans will certainly appreciate this entry, which recaptures the feel of the best Scudder mysteries of the 1980s and fills in part of the series chronology. That said, it will also likely work well as an introduction to the detective for new readers. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/10.]-David Rapp, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.