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A Ticket to the Boneyard (Matthew Scudder #8)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  2,117 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Twelve years ago, Matthew Scudder lied to a jury to put James Leo Motley behind bars. Now the ingenious psychopath is free. And the alcoholic ex-cop-turned-p.i. must pay dearly for his sins. Friends and former lovers -- even strangers unfortunate enough to share Scudder's name -- are turning up dead. Because a vengeful maniac is determined not to rest until he's driven his ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1990)
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Dan Schwent
A psychopath Matthew Scudder framed years ago when he was still a cop has gotten out of jail and is looking for revenge, killing Scudder's women friends one by one. Can Scudder stop him before he becomes another of the killer's victims?

Holy crap! James Leo Motley was the scariest villain I've run into a long time, far from a mustache twirling James Bond villain. He's crazy and nigh unstoppable. A few times while I was reading, I had to look over my shoulder and make sure he hadn't slipped into m
Back when Matt Scudder was a hard-drinking New York cop, he had a *ahem* special relationship with a high-class prostitute named Elaine. He helped her out with problems like taking care of a john who had the bad manners to die of a heart attack while in the middle of a transaction. In exchange, Elaine provided services for Matt.

After Elaine was robbed, beaten and raped by a sadistic misogynist named John Leo Motley, she called Matt for help, and Scudder responded by getting Motley sent to priso
Richard Vialet
A Ticket to the Boneyard is a whole new ballgame in the Matt Scudder series. After allowing Matt to confront his alcoholism in Eight Million Ways to Die and focusing on him dealing with sobriety in Out on the Cutting Edge , author Lawrence Block now has a blank slate and the space to really take Matt's story in any direction. But one would think that after your private detective character sobers up, the stories are in real danger of becoming flat and boring. Not so with Block's series! Becaus ...more
Back when Matthew Scudder was still officially with the fuzz, he wasn’t exactly a stickler for the official rules. He did, however, have a set of his own, including the notion that if someone offers to buy you “a new hat,” you accept.* Officer Scudder wasn’t above keeping company with women in the oldest profession, and one in particular, Elaine .

Friends of Matt S. (since he’s working the steps, I’ll use the program’s preferred nomenclature) likely know from previous volumes, that Scudder-br
James Thane
Like the previous seven novels in this series, A Ticket to the Boneyard is a great read. Unlike its predecessors, though, this one is more of a thriller than a mystery novel. And unlike the others, in this case Matthew Scudder is effectively his own client.

Twelve years earlier, while Scudder was still a detective in the NYPD, a psycho named James Leo Motley assaulted an escort named Elaine Mardell and insisted that she now belonged to him. Elaine was a friend of Scudder's; the two had been intim
Aug 27, 2012 Carol. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scudder fans
I am not the target audience for this book.

1) I'm a chicken when it comes to horror/thriller.
2) In Ticket, Block experiments with a thriller plot of a sadistic freak stalking Scudder and Elaine for revenge. Yes, they set him up, but they were totally justified, because he was stalking prostitutes, assaulting and raping them and trying to use mind Jedi tricks to convince them to let him be their pimp for good. No cop thought the charges would stick because, you know, this is a New York jury: they

This was less of a Matt Scudder mystery and more of a Matt Scudder thriller! James Leo Motley plays the first truly aggressive adversary he's ever faced, almost like an insane arch-nemeses in a way. This guy really hates Scudder, to the point where he wants to kill him and everyone he cares about. Talk about a grudge!

The whole thing dates back to a situation where Motley had been harassing Scudder's on again-off again call-girl/girlfriend, Elaine, a few years back. The only way that Scudder
This is the most chilling, unsettling Scudder novel so far.

Motley is a creepy villain and still plausible, normaly i dislike the sick serial killer type villain.
Block brought back in the story the high-class prostitute named Elaine that Scudder use to be close with. That along with Scudder's new friendship with Mick Ballou, an Irish gangster made the story extra interesting and Matt less of depressing loner. Scudder in this series destroys the cool lone wolf type hero. He is a depressing loner
Scudder vs the psychotic serial killer AKA Ticket to the Boneyard is Lawrence Block's take on the highly popular James Patterson-esque cat and mouse sub-genre of crime fiction. Because it's Block you know straight off that it's not going to be the same simple structure and the same definitions of good and evil will not apply for his characters, especially Matt Scudder, former cop turned unofficial private eye.

JL Motley is a son of a bitch of the highest order, misogynist in the extreme and incre
My favourite so far of this great series.
Lots of unexpected turns in the plot and a very satisfactory ending and most importantly, the scariest psychopathic bad guy ever !
Like the way that Scudder's character has developed throughout the series and enjoyed this one all the more for having read the previous 7 books but if you were to read just one of the series, this would be the one that I would recommend.
Completely unputdownable at times - almost missed my bus stop and ended up at the airport y
Ty Wilson
I was introduced to the Matthew Scudder series a bit less than 2 years ago and this is the 8th book of his I've read. I keep coming back to this series because the writing is crisp and the characters really leap off the page. This book is no different. Scudder and the various denizens of New York City ring true in a way that few writers can achieve. Scudder is still fighting his own demons, a war he's taking one day at a time. In between AA meetings, Scudder's past comes back to haunt him in the ...more
A psycho seeking revenge, a call girl, and a career criminal. And of course, Matt Scudder. Wrap all of this up and you have the makings of a book that will keep you on the edge and totally unable to put the book down, not even to go and do the laundry that so desperately needs to be done.

On a good note, Matt is doing quite well in the no-drinking department:

"My name is Matt and I'm an alcoholic, and my hangovers used to be bad, too. I figured I was done with them in sobriety, so I felt a little
Scudder must face a psychopathic killer he framed years ago, who vowed to get even with him “and all your women.” The bodies start to pile up before Scudder, outmatched in strength and perhaps in wiles, can get together a defense.

This might be the best Scudder yet. Compared to the adolescent fantasies of Spenser, the characters are gritty, believable and fleshed out. This in turn helps the drama. While you know Spenser will outmatch everyone (yawn), Scudder, an Everyman struggling with his demon
Robust though not my favorite entry in the hardboiled Matt Scudder series. We watch the tenacious Matt's day-to-day grind to stay off the devil's rum in NYC. Violence only erupts at key points in the plot. Wonderful voice and setting. Worth re-reading, if time permits it.
Lawrence Block knows what he's doing and he does it well. This is a worthy addition to the Matthew Scudder series. Scudder is a recovering alcoholic, ex-cop who lives in a low-rent residential hotel and earns his living as an unlicensed private investigator.

A Ticket to the Boneyard is the 8th Lawrence Block novel to feature Matthew Scudder. This book finds Matthew Scudder doing well with his sobriety. He's got a semi-regular gig working as an operative for a large detective agency and while lif
Fred Forbes
It has been awhile since I read a Matthew Scudder novel but a Goodreads friend recommended this highly so it became my lunch book for the last couple of weeks. Compelling tale and characters though a bit heavy on the AA material (my Dad was a member for 33 years) but well done and accurate. Nasty villain and well drawn characters and plot. I'll be back for more!
When a psychopath from his past targets Scudder and his mistress, Scudder prints up some fliers and goes to a bunch of AA meetings.


There's one point in the book--right after Scudder and his former mistress reignite their old flame--when the story seems to pick up some suspense. Knowing that old trope, we figure the psychopath will kill the girl and then it will be a revenge tale. What follows is a series of murder victims that Scudder doesn't even know (James Leo Watley is apparently
Tim Warner
This is my first Lawrence Block. I really like him and will definitely contiunue with him. His character walks the same streets as Vacch's Burke, but manages to rise a bit higher and out of the gutter than Burke, whom I also love. Someone called Block a genius (here on Goodreads.) I can see why. There doesn't seem to be a wasted sentence. There doesn't seem to be a sentence without some deep emotion or otherwise thoughtful inspiration. Yes I know, it's all about violence and sex and catching the ...more
After the uneasy settling-in of #7 in this series, OUT ON THE CUTTING EDGE, where Block seemed to be working through what to do with his newly sober protagonist, #8 A TICKET TO THE BONEYARD goes full-throttle adrenaline. It's really nothing like the prior books in the series, and I can't tell if that'S a good thing or a bad thing--it may to some extent depend on what comes in the next few books. This novel introduces James Leo Motley, an almost super-villian-like bad guy, and the novel is a brut ...more
James Leo Motley is angry and out to get revenge. Years ago, Matt Scudder helped send him to jail. In the process Scudder framed Motley, because he wanted him to go away for a long time.

Motley had it coming. He is a man who likes to hurt women. One of the women he has attacked is Elaine Mardell, an upscale call-girl, and Scudder's long time friend and lover.

Before Motley went to prison he swore to get even, not just with Scudder but with all of his women. Now, Motley is out of prison and is on t
An outdated, violent, smutty-talking stalker thriller. I have read Lawrence Block books before and never did take to the violence. I kind of like our AA attending, coffee drinking Private Detective Scudder but there really isn't much entertainment value here. Detective Scudder spends some time telling us what is wrong with police departments and that is probably the only thing that I actually enjoyed in the book, that and him pouring a bottle of whiskey down the sink.
Really enjoying this series: Hard boiled non-detective, detective fiction. Although I read it, I am always a little disturbed by a crime series where the main character is a licensed "p.i." who investigates murders. Per Michael Connelly who worked as a crime reporter in Los Angeles for several years, there aren't any....Private Investigators primarily investigate cheating spouses and insurance fraud. I am fond of detective fiction where the main character has a day job (salvage expert-Travis McG ...more
Matt Allen
Scudder is best when it's dark. A Ticket to the Boneyard is probably one of the darkest entries in the series, certainly the darkest since A Stab in the Dark.

There's little mystery in Ticket. There's Scudder, there's the client, there's the antagonist. It's pretty clear cut. The plot comes down to the gritty machinations of the two sides working against the other. It's compelling to see play out. Our antagonist is likely the most fearsome in the series to this point. Scudder, still struggling h
Kathleen Hagen
A Ticket to the Bone Yard, by Lawrence Block, a-minus, Narrated by Joe Barrett, Produced by Blackstone Audio, Downloaded from

This is one of the earlier Matt Scudder books. Here we have Matt coming out of yet another failed relationship. He is a former NYPD cop and now an unlicensed private investigator who only takes on cases he’s interested in, no matter whether or not they can pay. He and Elaine Mardell, the call girl he has known for years, become panic-stricken because a psychop
Jan 01, 2008 Hthayer rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one I know
Having made it to page 283 and despite a terrible cold that is keeping me bedridden and in search of mindless entertainment, I still cannot recommend this book. We know who the bad guy is -- the entire "suspense" of the book is people who should know better putting themselves in the way of danger and the police either not being informed or doing nothing. Too annoying to stick with.
By this point in the series we know Scudder wasn't a total angel as a cop (not downright dirty, but not squeaky clean either).

In this book we find out just how grey his past was and how far he will go to make things right.

Almost impossible to put down.
This was a really great read. Its the one where Matt and Elaine make a commitment. The story was good too. I gave it 5 stars.

I just read this book again. It was one of my favorites. Excellent read!
James Leo Motley - a brutally sadistic killer. This is the eighth book in the Matthew Scudder series. Scudder is an ex cop who left the force after accidentally shooting and killing a young girl. Now he's kind of a private investigator. He's terribly guilt ridden and an alcoholic. He's been sober for some time but it's a huge struggle. He doesn't believe in God, or maybe he does. But he is in search of truth and meaning in his life. Find me another PI in novels who reads Meditations. He ponders ...more
Well, Block hits the nail on the head again. Scudder is in deep in this installment. He has done some shady things and is paying the price. The thing I really liked about this book was the characters. You don't want anything bad to happen to any one, but you're not blind to the fact that you're reading a mystery novel and you know that something will happen to someone, so you roll with it. Luckily, the characters that I really enjoy made it through. Maybe not completely intact, but they made it. ...more
Billy Wells
This is one of my favorite Matt Scudder novels. The antagonist is truly diabolical and possesses special powers that drives Matt to the breaking point. He is bad to the core and enjoys torturing, raping, and sodomizing women who he believes are good til you get tired of them, then you kill them and find another one.
After spending twelve years in the joint, he seeks revenge on Scudder by trying to kill everyone he cares about before killing him. The alcoholism was quite excessive, but I still lik
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Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 2002.

From his web site:

I'm told every good author website needs a bio, so here's mine:

"Lawrence Block's novels range from the urban noir of Matthew Scudder (A Drop of the Hard Stuff) to the urbane effervescence of Bernie Rhodenbarr (The Burglar on the Prowl), while other characters include the globe-trotting insomniac Evan Tanne
More about Lawrence Block...

Other Books in the Series

Matthew Scudder (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1)
  • Time to Murder and Create (Matthew Scudder, #2)
  • In the Midst of Death (Matthew Scudder, #3)
  • A Stab in the Dark (Matthew Scudder, #4)
  • Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder, #5)
  • When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6)
  • Out on the Cutting Edge (Matthew Scudder, #7)
  • A Dance At The Slaughterhouse (Matthew Scudder, #9)
  • A Walk Among the Tombstones (Matthew Scudder, #10)
  • The Devil Knows You're Dead (Matthew Scudder, #11)

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“Forcible sodomy and illegal entry, you put them both down and you get a jury confused. They figure it’s two ways of saying the same thing.” 1 likes
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