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After the First Death

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Lawrence Block weaves his spell in this suspenseful tale of a man haunted by murders he hopes he hasn?t committed . . . It was all too frighteningly familiar. For the second time in his life, Alex Penn wakes up in an alcoholic daze in a cheap hotel room off Times Square and finds himself lying next to the savagely mutilated body of a young woman. After the first death, he ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by iBooks (first published January 1st 1969)
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Alex Penn is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He wakes up painfully hungover, coming out of a blackout drunk. When he finally gets out of bed, he discovers his clothes are all messed up, covered in blood it would seem and, just when he thinks things might have been looking up ( not having a nosebleed counts as a win in these circumstances), he turns his head. In what I assume is an homage to the words of Julius Caesar: "I looked, I saw, I vomited."

Alex Penn and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Sorry Alexander, Penn's
Cindy Barnett
Interesting with a wham! ending. Beginning to think author must have nightmares and writes 'em down. :) Reader: Peter Burkhart did a good job. Have read author before and will again. ©1969 text/ 2014 audio
Great story. The set up is a prelude to Matt Scudder; there are elements of his life in embedded.
Jan 19, 2012 Kim added it
Good mystery noir...
Craig Childs
I've read 20 or so of Lawrence Block's 130+ novels, and this one has the best opening hook I've seen yet: A man wakes up from an alcohol-induced blackout next to a dead hooker. He doesn't know if he killed her, or if he's being framed. The door is locked from the inside, and the police are coming. And, oh yeah, this has happened to him once before...

If that premise doesn't draw you right in, then I don't know what will. Andy Penn spends a few hectic days trying to elude capture and combing thro
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I think I have read all of Blocks "Burglar" books and loved them. He is a good writer and this book was no exception in keeping me interested. The reason I rated it lower was that it was just too dark for me. I've tried his Matthew Scudder books and am not a fan of those either. Give us more Burglar books, please.
fiction, alcoholism, Lawrence Block, mystery, New York, heroin, cheap hotels.......good stuff for the quirky
This is a tightly written and creative mystery that is ingeniously plotted and fast paced. I look forward to reading more of this fellow's extensive output.
A man wakes up in a cheap hotel after a night of excess drinking. There is the bloody body of a hooker on the floor. Her throat is cut and there is blood all over the man's clothes. All he can think is "Not again!". He has no memory of what happened last night. No memory at all but he had killed a prostitute in a hotel in the past and had no memory of that as well. A great beginning to this noir detective novel in which he evades the police and frantically searches for clues to find the killer, ...more
David Macpherson
This felt like lesser Block. It was a first person narrative about a despicable person who might have killed another prostitute. The guy drinks a lot and has black outs. He attempts to clear his name because he is convinced someone else did it. The mystery reveal is decent and the ending is very dire and nihilistic, but I just hated the character. I couldn't root for him and I had a hard time following along with him. Maybe if the book was in third person it would have been more palatable, but I ...more
Listened as audiobook on long drive to Georgia. Fun, fantasy whodunit story, not requiring too much deep concentration. I'm a fan of the author and this book was not a dissapointment.
This is an interesting early-Block read, especially as it forshadows the sleuth/hooker relationship that would become the heart of the Scudder series. The environment is the same as well - the darker side of New York - with the seedy hotels and 42nd Street at it's worst.
A good read that takes the reader into the dark places of substance abusers lives and the travails therein. Murder, desperation and determination all woven into richly crafted characters. Disturbing on some levels, but enjoyable all the same.
Almost a prelude to Block's Matt Scudder novels, which fleshed out characters and themes introduced here. This is still rather pulpy, but more personal and affecting than many of his early books.
Joyce McKune
Great story. Kept my interest even though there were many misspellings and wrong words. Could use an editor. Short book, but quite sweet.
Surprising and sad way the murders were solved. Hope things work out for Alex and Jackie.
Dave Williams
It's a formulaic mystery novel, but a very entertaining one. Block has a way with the dark humor.
Denise M.
Sep 27, 2009 Denise M. marked it as to-read
Shelves: block-lawrence
AKA: Sheldon Lord, Jill Emerson, Paul Kavanaugh, Chip Harrison, Lawrence Block
Ray Charbonneau
Proto-Block, the ebook is worth a read for fans if only for the afterword.
Kevin Beck
An excellent story. Alex Penn is an interesting character.
Nick Tomashot
Only for hardcore noir Block fans...
Lawrence Block is brilliant!
Great suspense author!
Heather Robertson
Heather Robertson marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2014
Christopher Maxwell
Christopher Maxwell marked it as to-read
Dec 09, 2014
Dakry is currently reading it
Dec 05, 2014
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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...
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 (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #1)

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