A Ticket to the Boneyard
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Ticket to the Boneyard (Matthew Scudder #8)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,461 ratings  ·  69 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,001)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
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...more

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...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...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...more
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.
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...more
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
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.
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...more
Kathleen Hagen
A Ticket to the Bone Yard, by Lawrence Block, a-minus, Narrated by Joe Barrett, Produced by Blackstone Audio, Downloaded from audible.com.

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...more
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.
Paul Mirek
lawrence block has written over 50 novels and a hundred short stories (including to ole reliable wikipedia). most of them deal with some aspect of criminal life, and all of the ones i've read so far have been good to great. but this book--the 8th in his "matthew scudder" series--is the kind of book you can hand to someone who thinks there's enough horror in the world already and doesn't understand why anyone would want to read a book about it. because the story of retired cop and recovering alco...more
Moira Russell
Sadly, not anywhere near as good as the previous book. Scudder is up against a Murderous Misogynist Psychopath, a mystery genre villain type I truly hate, altho at least this one doesn't listen to Bach's Goldberg Variations or have maroon/opal/black eyes or carve marionettes for war orphans or any of the other cliches. He's just an extremely unpleasant piece of work.

Something bothered me in this book that didn't in the previous one, as well -- while a lot of male characters, including the minor...more
Eight books in, and I continue to enjoy the exploits of the alcholic former cop, Scudder. This time around, it's not a client that takes up Scudder's time, but a ghost from his former life. Over a decade ago, Scudder put the frame-up on a nasty piece of work, and he's got a twisted maniac looking for payback. This would be bad enough, but the killer is taking his time, playing with Scudder, and murdering any woman that he thinks Scudder may have been close to.

By the time this book starts, our g...more
Tim Greaton
Lawrence Block is an author with a talent for getting to the point, and he uses it well in this Matthew Scudder novel. Unfortunately, I felt as though the character Matthew Scudder was moving through a void much of the time.

The story begins when a woman from Matthew's past calls to say yet another mutual friend was murdered by a they offended before he went to jail a dozen years before. As Matthew tries to unravel the mystery of where their nemesis might be hiding, murders continue to pile up....more
Twelve years ago, Matt Scudder protected his friend Elaine Mardell from a psychopath named James Leo Motley. In order to ensure that Motley would get a stiff jail sentence Scudder framed him for a more serious crime, and Elaine, terrifed of Motley, went along. Now Motley has been released from prison and is exacting his revenge by killing any woman he deems close to Scudder, even going so far afield as to randomly kill a woman with the same last name. Motley has emerged from his 12 years in pris...more
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...more
James Leo Motley is the most dangerous adversary Matt Scudder has yet faced. He had been a customer of Elaine, a high-priced call girl and friend of Matt. But, when he gets dangerous with Elaine, she calls Matt for protection. Matt had proved to be her rescuer by getting the best of James and when he was unconscious, framed him for assualting a police officer. Now twelve years later, he is back and vowing to destroy Scudder and all his women. Matt doesn't really have any women at the moment, but...more
When over at my aunt and uncle's house one night, waiting for Game of Thrones to start, they had a pile of books to give away. This was the... 7th? 8th? in the series...? But I got the idea after talking to Uncle Joe that this was the kind of series where you didn't really need to have read the first umpteen in order to get along. And I was in between books, so I picked it up.

It was exactly what I was looking for at the time; a book I could pick up, even mid-series, not feel lost when reading,...more
Really enjoyed the entire Matthew Scudder series. I used to live in NYC, and his descriptions/situations always resonate with authenticity. Plus I love the way the relationship evolves with Matt and Elaine.
Joe Alfieri
One hell of a book.

Matt Scudder on the trail of a man he put in prison some years ago, when he was a NYPD detective. Scudder is off the force, on his own as an unlicensed PI with a AA managed drinking problem, when he gets a call that his "cousin" needs him. The "cousin" is a high priced call girl that he once had an affair with, and a friend of hers has been murdered, along with her family.

Bodies begin to pile up, and it's obvious that the ultimate target is Scudder, preceded by his call-girl

Theresa Leone Davidson
Another good Scudder story, one in which a killer Scudder framed and had arrested years earlier, comes back to seek his revenge. Elaine Mardell, a supporting character in some of the earlier novels, plays a bigger part in this story, and it is the usual Lawrence Block suspense. I was actually going to only give it three stars because, compared to the other Scudder stories, the ending of this felt slightly anticlimactic; nevetheless, I stuck to four stars because I like the main character so much...more
One of the best Scudder books yet. Pushed to his limits with lives on the line Scudder is confronted by a ghost from his past out for blood.
Joe Belfeuil
I read this book at least a dozen years ago and it's still as good now as it was then. This is the first time that Scudder comes up against a real psychopath, James Leo Motley. Thankfully, we're spared having to get a glimpse into Motley's motivations and we get how Scudder reacts to him. Which isn't much at all. Scudder for much of the book when faced with the escalating threat of Motley, seems helpless. In following the growth of Scudder throughout the novels, this is probably the closest he's...more
Rick Hollis

Years ago while a police det ms frames someone. He was not guilty of what hw was charged, but was a threat to Elaine -- he had already hurt her and there was little doubt he would end up killing her in the end. At the trial he swears to get even with Scudder and his women.

Fast for forward a number of years, he is out of jail and back at it. Three deaths [a triple AA acquaintance, a former colleague of Elaine's and an unrelated woman with Scudder's last name], and Elaine next to death and Scudder...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 66 67 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Judas Goat (Spenser, #5)
  • Sunset Limited (Dave Robicheaux, #10)
  • The Long Lavender Look (Travis McGee #12)
  • Indigo Slam (Elvis Cole, #7)
  • The Sour Lemon Score (Parker, #12)
  • A Cool Breeze on the Underground (Neal Carey, #1)
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
More about Lawrence Block...
The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1) Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder, #5) Hit Man (Keller, #1) When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6) Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Rhodenbarr, #1)

Share This Book