The Devil Knows You're Dead
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The Devil Knows You're Dead (Matthew Scudder #11)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,206 ratings  ·  51 reviews
A deranged derelict, a crazed Vietnam vet, has been arrested for gunning down successful young lawyer Glenn Holtzmann at a corner phone booth on Eleventh Avenue -- and the suspect's brother wants p.i. Matthew Scudder to prove the madman innocent. But Scudder's curiosity and dedication are leading him to dark, unexplored places in his own heart...and to passions and secrets...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,776)
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Anthony Vacca
After the high-octane thrills of the last three Matthew Scudder novels--which found our ex-cop, ex-alcoholic PI immersed in mysteries which pitted him against a series of pathetic yet ultra-dangerous freaks--The Devil Knows Your Dead is a return to the banal murder mysteries of the first few entries in this series that could almost be sold as pitch-black tragicomedies if there wasn't the fact that we had to watch Matthew squirm through several hundred pages of personal dilemmas. In a lot of ways...more
Dan Schwent
An acquaintance of Scudder's is gunned down at a pay phone and it looks like a homeless man is the culprit. The homeless man's brother hires Scudder to clear him. Scudder's investigation takes him through a world populated with transsexuals and blackmail. Also on Scudder's plate are the pancreatic cancer of his ex-girlfriend, his relationship with Elaine, and the affair he's having with the dead man's wife...

The Devil Knows You're Dead wasn't quite up to par with the rest of the Lawrence Black's...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Sep 29, 2012 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sophisticated noir
Shelves: awards, mystery, male-lead
This one redeemed the Scudder series for me. I understand why other readers might feel it doesn't compare with its immediate predecessors: very little violence, no emotional attachment to the victim and almost no blood, although Matt does seem to be in several sorts of emotional danger. However, the emotional subplots are the trimmings that elevate the Scudder series above ordinary noir detective or mystery thriller going for the roller-coaster climb, and its why the Scudder series consistently...more
Just as Babe Ruth couldn’t hit a home run with every at bat or Joe Montana couldn’t throw a touchdown pass on every throw, even Lawrence Block had to eventually produce a Matt Scudder novel that’s just ‘pretty damn good’ instead of ‘freakin’ awesome’.

A yuppie lawyer gets murdered when making a call at a payphone, and everyone thinks that a homeless and disturbed Vietnam veteran was the killer. Even the vet isn’t sure if he did it or not but admits he could have. The vet’s brother asks Matt to ch...more
A man is gunned down and the person deemed responsible is caught red handed at the scene of the crime. While the accused’s brother realizes that the evidence is damning, he cannot imagine his brother committing such a horrible act. He remembered meeting a man who identified himself as a detective during an AA meeting and reaches out for his help. The man in question is Matt Scudder and he agrees to take the case even though he has his doubts he’ll make a difference.

As with all the books in Block...more
The Devil Knows You're Dead may be the most skillfully crafted book I've ever read—and until the end, I wasn't even sure I was going to like it. The psychological suspense is excruciating. The characters breathe and bleed. And dozens of details that seem like window dressing end up being critical to the tidy resolution of the several subplots. As for the central corpse, Scudder's search for a motive for the murder results in what has to be one of fiction's most interesting red herrings.

If you're...more
Taking your life is a very grave matter. You're saying you know better than Himself how long you should live. You're saying: "Thanks very much for this gift of life, but why don't You take it an shove it up Your ass?

Although not bad this is the weakest Scudder so far, which speaks good of the series, only one weak title after 10 remarkable ones. But there's no danger, no thrill and the mystery took a third of the book to take off.
The good writing and the greatness of the characters save the book...more
Craig Childs
I found this to be one of the most sophisticated and, in its own way, one of the best Matt Scudder novels, at least so far in the series. Scudder's personal journey mirrors New York City itself in the early 1990's. Just as the city streets were being cleaned up under Mayor Giuliani, Scudder too finds himself caught between two worlds-- the bleak, independent loner he has been in the past and the more mature, serene man he capable of becoming. This theme is developed in the murder he is trying to...more
Matt Allen
It's always stimulating to spend time with Scudder. Even when it's not.

The Devil Knows You're Dead is a perfect example of how character can save plot. This eleventh installment in the Scudder series probably has my least favorite main plot yet. It's a victim that's hard to sympathize with, it's a wrongly (?) accused criminal who's hard to identify with, and the details of the case are really that intriguing. It seems like a case that Scudder wouldn't have gone out of his way to share with us.

Kathleen Hagen
The Devil Knows You’re Dead, by Lawrence Block, a-minus, Narrated by Joe Barrett, Produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

This is one of the earlier Matthew Scudder books and, as it turns out it’s one I read previously. But it was as enjoyable the second time, and I had forgotten who the murderer was, so it worked out fine. In this book, Matt is asked by a man to find out who shot a man to death. His brother is being blamed and held for the murder and he insists that his brothe...more
James Thane
This is the eleventh entry in Lawrence Block's excellent Matthew Scudder series. For anyone who might be interested, I've posted an essay on Block and Scudder on my blog,
Rick Hollis
In my quest to read all of the Matthew Scudder books, in order, I lost place of a bit and reread this one.

A drug dealer [importer]'s wife is murdered after he paid the ransom. His brother knows Scudder. Scudder is reluctant to help, knowing what the person does for a living and what he wants to do, once Scudder solves the case. But initial crime was so loathsome, Scudder agrees to help.

I read a review of one of the books in this series describes Scudder as amoral. That is far from being true....more
Joe  Noir
This is a weak entry in the Matt Scudder series. It starts out in a fairly interesting way, if not exactly strong. Then the author takes his own sweet time in going nowhere. If most private eye novels (if not most mystery/crime/detective novels) are about the journey and not the destination, it seems as if the author got so entranced along the way he forgot where he was going.

A yuppie Matt met a few times is gunned down at a pay phone. A homeless Vietnam vet with mental illness is arrested for...more
One thing about the Matt Scudder books is that you'll learn a lot about AA and the relationship between an alcoholic and his mentor. This one in particular seems to have more about the different types of meetings, what transpires, and the sub-culture of alcoholics working to stay sober. Now, I'm not a drinker, being overly concerned with control, never wanting to cede what little gray matter I have to some external drug, so I have no way of knowing how accurate or what Block's history with AA mi...more
P.I., Matt Scudder investigates a case that the police believe they have already solved. A well off, young, Manhattan lawyer, Glenn Holtzmann, is shot while using a pay phone. The police believe the shooter is a street person named George Sadecki, a Vietnam veteran who was never able to reintegrate into American society. George’s brother doesn’t believe he is capable of murder and hires Scudder to look into it.

Block has written a tale that leads the reader through many switchbacks, into a few bl...more
A large part of the appeal of Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder series has always (or at least from about the third novel onwards) been to follow the fate of its protagonist, his trying to survive without a regular job, his trying to come to terms with his past as a police officer, and chiefly his struggle with (and quite often succumbing to) his alcoholism.

But this is how it goes – you creat a recurring protagonist for your novels, give him a backstory, and, as no man is an island, some friends,...more
So far, even the worst Scudder books have been pretty damn good. This was my least favorite in the series so far, but I think that speaks at least as much to the quality of the previous books as it does to the quality of this book. This case finds Scudder trying to figure out whether a man arrested for the murder of a man from the neighborhood is actually guilty of the crime.

Much of this book seems to be at least as much about changing the status quo of Scudder's life as it does having him tack...more
When private detective Matt Scudder meets Glenn Holtzmann on a couples date with his girlfriend Elaine Mardell, he takes an instant and vague dislike to the man. It's puzzling because on the surface Holtzmann is clean-cut and innocuous, employed by a publishing firm, living in a high-rise apartment with his beautiful wife Lisa, and interested in Scudder's work. Then one night in Hell's Kitchen Holtzmann is murdered execution style. The police think they have the killer, a homeless Viet Nam veter...more
It took me a little longer than previous Scudder books to get hooked on this one...but about half way in, the plot picked up pace and I was back in Scudderland. Block just continues to write a series that is never dull, always surprising...and his characters continue to grow. In this book Matthew takes on a case that at first seems cut and dried. Homeless man kills what appears to be a successful, up and coming young man. But things are not at all what they appear to be...and very soon Scudder i...more
The clean and ostensibly happily domesticated Scudder is hired by a vagrant’s brother to clear the vagrant of a shooting. The victim happens to be a distant acquaintance of Scudder’s, and though Matt didn’t like the guy much, he ends up having a desultory kind of affair with his widow. Meanwhile the accused killer is himself killed in prison, leaving a stubborn Scudder to attack the closed case (or as his cop friend puts it, “trying to give a dead horse mouth-to-mouth resuscitation”).

This is onl...more
my only complaints about #8, 9, and 10 is that the series turned too vicious, too gratuitously violent for my tastes. This one now I found to be almost too sedate; almost as if it could use a little blood, so there is just no making me happy. But the story is there, the characters are there, and it's a good continuation.
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.
Ayase Yayoi
"April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. "
Andrew Smith
Block is one of the very best crime writers. Ever! And this is one of his best books. I’ll not go into the detail partly because it’ll spoil the read for others but also if you’ve read any of the Scudder series you’ll pretty much know how it works (ex-drunk policeman, lots of AA meetings, plenty of PI leg work around NYC). If you’re not an existing Scudder (or Block) fan then don’t let my description put you off; trust me, it’s much better than I make it sound. The story bounces along and the ch...more
Matt Scudder mystery, New York
OK, interesting characters
could have improved on winding up some of the pieces.
this is a rather good matthew scudder book from 1993. In it, he is involved with an old girlfriend who has pancreatic cancer, the woman he calls the love of his life, and a young widow, whom he comforts in her bed, as well as doing some detective work for her. there are other interesting characters such as a young black informant and a friend of his, a lovely transsexual. lawrence block paints the settings so that you can easily picture them. it is a tour of manhattan without having to pay the e...more
Aarre Laakso
A lawyer gets gunned down at a public phone in Manhatten....
Lawrence Block is the man. Anything he writes is gold. This one is no exception.
Fabio Oliveira
Great book. Solid characters. Awesome writer.
Joyce McKune
Matt just keeps getting better and better.
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Are readers harder to shock these days? 1 4 Aug 22, 2014 05:48PM  
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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
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)

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