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Eight Million Ways To Die
 
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Lawrence Block
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Eight Million Ways To Die (Matthew Scudder #5)

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  3,677 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kin knew it also —and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-Cop turned P.I. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfron ...more
Published (first published 1982)
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Kemper
Someday I’m going to get around to putting together my list of the greatest mystery/crime novels I’ve read. When I do, this one is going to be very near the top.

Matt Scudder is still working as an unlicensed private detective, and he is approached by an upscale prostitute named Kim. She wants to quit the business but is nervous about telling her pimp, Chance. Kim hires Matt to break the news to Chance and gauge his reaction to see if he’ll try to keep her working.

After Matt tracks Chance down,
...more
James Thane
Every time I post a review of one of Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder novels, my strong temptation is always to begin by saying that this is one of my favorite books in the series. The problem is that I love every last one of them and so they're all my favorites, which I guess makes Eight Million Ways to Die one of my Most Favorites.

The story at the heart of the novel is fairly simple and straightforward. A beautiful young call girl named Kim Dakkinen wants to leave the business, but she's worri
...more
Trudi
"You know what you got in this city, this fucked-up toilet of a naked fucking city? You know what you got? You got eight million ways to die." ~Eight Million Ways to Die
Matt Scudder, how much do I love thee? Let me count the eight million ways.

This is definitely my favorite of the Scudder books so far, for all the reasons captured in this review here. Eight Million Ways to Die is New York in all of its grimy splendor: murderous, amoral, seething and unsympathetic. Block creates an authentic po
...more
Tfitoby
There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of the best of them.

The fifth Matt Scudder takes a further dark turn in to a city plagued by demons and lawlessness, taking a pessimistic cue from the classic movie/TV show The Naked City this is the story of a dead call girl, of 2000 murders per year, of a private investigator, of an alcoholic on a path of self-destruction. During his investigation Scudder comes in to contact with all kinds of filth and degenerates, he makes a
...more
Carol.
A book about the mystery of a dead hooker becomes a book about Matt Scudder taking one day at a time, trying to save himself from alcohol. The prose was dry and matter-of-fact; the words of a police report detailing his movements and contacts. And yet the way they were arranged, their anti-drama sensibility, packed an emotional punch. Definitely my favorite Scudder so far.

The synopsis: Scudder gets a visit from a beautiful dairy-maid hooker who wants his help leaving her john. A little unusual t
...more
Dan Schwent
A hooker hires Matthew Scudder to tell her pimp she's leaving. Scudder delivers the message and everything is cool. Only the hooker ends up dead and the pimp hires Scudder to find out who killed her. Can Scudder find the killer before he ends up dead himself?

Sometimes, I really struggle with rating a book. This was not one of those times. Eight Million Ways To Die is easily the best Lawrence Block book I've read yet, head and shoulders about the others. The characters are more alive than in the
...more
Mara
What starts out as Matthew Scudder, fresh off of a drinking bender that landed him in a hospital, helping a hooker "get out of the game" turns into layer upon layer of murder and mystery in a city where people keep killing each other and there are eight million ways to die.

This installment of Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series takes things to the next level. Things are richer, deeper; the grime is grimier- it's just more in all the right ways. Since some cleverer people have come before me
...more
Brandon
Wow. Just wow. I can easily say this is the first "great" Scudder book. I knew I made a mistake rating the first 4 novels at 5 stars each. It's not that they're bad books, they're just not in the same league as Eight Million Ways to Die.

In the 5th installment of the series, Block takes Scudder and the City of New York all the way down to rock bottom. Whether he's exposing the reader to gang violence and random murders or he's having Scudder drink himself half to death; not a lot of hope escapes
...more
Richard Vialet
That's it. If I never read another Lawrence Block novel (I shudder at the thought), this book on it's own solidifies in my mind that Block is one of the best crime novelists out there. But this is so much more than just a "detective novel." It's a vividly written character study of the struggle to overcome alcoholism.

In this, the fifth book in the famed Matthew Scudder series, Matt gets hired by a beautiful hooker to convince her pimp to let her get out of the life. It eventually turns into a m
...more
Mohammed
Another amazing novel by Block,i kept thinking wow this is something.It was very much about Scudder himself,his struggles with alcohol that made it so strong this time too. The case was even less important than the novel before. It was complex story emotionally,i could have read 340+ pages of Matt Scudder and his problems without the crime plot,the violence.

The personal struggles made it much more darker than any violence could have been. I didnt care about the fact the case,the crime plot wasn
...more
Cathy DuPont
Lawrence Block has quickly become one of my top favorite hard-boiled/noir writers. To date I've read 11 of his books including a couple as short stories.

As you may have noticed, I've already claimed to love the pimp, Chance, in this story. Can't help myself; the guy is a real cool dude, not your stereotypical pimp. He doesn't drive flashy cars, wear flashy clothes, hang out at pubs, taverns and the such. And, he's good to his girls. He is none of those things we generally think of when we think
...more
Bill
Back in the early 90s I read four of the Matthew Scudder novels. They were quite good, and just the type of dark noir I was into at the time.
Eventually I had enough and moved on to many other authors and Lawrence Block fell off my radar. Until I saw a great review by Stephen for Block's Grifter's Game from the Hard Case Crime collection.
I read that short story, was thoroughly impressed, and set my mind to
visiting Matt Scudder again after a 20 year break.

Eight Million Ways to Die was published be
...more
Nathan
Woah, I thought after reading all the greats like Hammett and Chandler there were just re-hashes of their work in varying degrees of quality left. I was wrong. I am a huge fan of the P.I. genre and this might be the best work I've read. What gets me thimking is what else is out there that I havn't discovered yet and where has Matt Scudder been all my P.I. living life?
I wont go into a long description of the plot but let me just say that if you're the least bit interested in P.I. stories, this is
...more
Truman32
Eight Million Ways To Die, Lawrence Block’s seminal crime novel has been called the best entry in his Matthew Scudder series. And it lives up to the accolades.

Scudder is a train wreck—once a cop, he is now a drunk, living in a hotel and taking unlicensed private detective cases to get by. He only marginally supports his divorced wife and children, and after a two day bender has been told in no uncertain terms that any further drinking will kill him.
Into Matt’s life walks the prostitute, Kim. Sh
...more
AC
OK. Had enough. Block ain't my cuppa tea... Was going to read Ginmill, but 4 failed reads in as many days is enuf for one writer.... A pity since he's writing about a time and place I was at...

Unlike others, I have no scruples rating books i couldn't finish, the one-star being pique for my disappointment and for the money I spent on these books. I also just unfollowed him on twitter..., such being my (admittedly) paltry revenge.

Laura Leaney
Now this is great genre fiction. Gritty, realistic, and interesting. Eight Million Ways to Die is a police procedural without all the artsy furbelows of some of the recent crime writing; I'm thinking of Gillian Flynn and Benjamin Black (and I like their work, believe me). The crime is a fairly straightforward affair, yet still it must be solved, and the former NYPD detective Matthew Scudder is hired to do what the police have little time or interest for. Who cares about a dead prostitute in New ...more
Col
Synopsis/blurb......
Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned PI was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain
...more
Bobbi
I'm going to have to think about this a little. The plot seems much more complex than the others so far in the series, but maybe that's because in retrospect each plot falls neatly into place. Whatever the difference, there is a clear difference, and I can see why people say this is the turning point in the series. How an author can affect such a subtle change in direction without altering the tone, tension, pace or personality, I don't know. It's hard to believe a series that used to describe b ...more
Ensiform
Scudder is hired by a whore to get her out of the life; the pimp, an agreeable man, acquiesces without argument. But when the whore turns up dead, the pimp hires Scudder to find out who did it. This is, so far, the best Scudder mystery by some distance.

As a character study, it builds on the bleak fatalism of the previous books. Here, the unlicensed alkie truly struggles with his drinking, going through blackouts and attending AA meetings. Block has a very good sense of what AA is all about. Scud
...more
Maggie K
I really enjoy Block's writing style.
It's weird, this book is more about an alcoholic PI getting off the sauce than it is about the mysterious hooker death he is trying to solve, which niormally I would HATE, but Block somehow manages to tie it together in such a way that I was really rooting for Matt, and found the emotional punch of everything rather well done
Kaitlin
Ugh...

just ugh.

This book was 50% filler. No question.



If I had to read one more god damned passage about Scudder drinking coffee, how much he wanted a drink, or his bloody AA meetings, I was going to punch somebody in the face. I honestly just started skipping those passages for they didn't even further the plot.

I also found the ending to be pretty anti-climatic. I mean, when I read crime and detective novels I expect (view spoiler)
...more
Patrick
Block wrote three books in one with Eight Million Way to Die. The first is the obvious, a mystery/thriller with Scudder helping find out who killed Kim, the hooker who went to him for help. This story is pretty interesting on it's own. There is a lot going on, high priced hookers each with their own story and eccentricities, Chance the different sort of pimp, all of the informants Scudder has built up, and of course red herring galore.

Second is a look at crime ridden 1980s NYC through the headl
...more
Eric_W
Another quick novel is Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block, author of the “Burglar” series of mysteries (wonderful stuff). In this book his hero is Matthew Scudder, who reminds me of Ross Mac- Donald’s hero, Lew Archer. Scudder is hired by Kim, a hooker, who wants him to intercede with her pimp, Chance, so she can leave the business. Kim is subsequently murdered, with all the suspicion falling on Chance, who then hires Scudder to find the real killer. Chance is an unusual pimp, who squir ...more
Jaret
Another great episode in the Matthew Scudder series. This episode highlights Matt's struggle with alcoholism. This is probably the episode where Matt is the most likeable. The mystery element was good as well. I liked not knowing who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. The resolution seemed to come out of nowhere, but the clues were there if you read carefully.
Tony Gleeson
This book was my introduction to Matthew Scudder and still ranks as one of my favorites in the series. This is a turning point of sorts in the ongoing series-- Scudder finally makes a decision to stop drinking, and his psychological tussles with the demon bottle, including some piquantly hilarious adventures in rationalization, are mighty and moving. The multiple murder mystery in which he is involved is a particularly good one as well. And Block describes Manhattan in knowing ways this ex-New Y ...more
Maryann Moffit
Good plot and follow through

third book I have read, maybe fourth, by Block. I really like the way he uses alcohol to define Scudders personality.
Elaine
I first read this book twenty or twenty-five years ago, and I was just blown away. It had a lasting impact on me. From the time I read it until today I have read 98% mysteries.

The character of Matt was so interesting that I quickly read all of Lawrence Block's books. I liked them all, but this is the one that has always stuck in my mind.

I have always wanted to read it again, but I was afraid I would find it dated. After all their were no cell phones and people did not talk about texting, email,
...more
Bogdan Dobrescu
PS: This review doesnt contain any spoilers. It actually, doesnt contain much information about the novel`s action, as it can be hard to present it without spoiling even the slightest detail of the plot( IN my opinion, that it).

Its been an eternity since my last visit on goodreads. It`s not that i dont love it anymore, but life has a way to get between me and the things i love. Exams also do that. Holidays also do that( and it doesnt help when your family lives far, far away, and traveling also
...more
Linda
After being totally disappointed in The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder #1), I found this one exactly what I wanted to read.

Block mentions in an Afterword to the updated version that after writing 4 Scudder books he found Scudder was changing. Rather than keep him as a one-dimensional character (which he had up until that time), he decided to let him grow. That's the joy in this novel.

Scudder is an alcoholic who doesn't want to admit it. He has two blackouts during this book, both of which
...more
David
After seeing "A Walk Among the Tombstones" I realized I had missed an interesting character by not reading the Matthew Scudder series. While this one is not the first in the series, the author notes that this novel took a momentous turn as Scudder is confronted with his alcoholism.

That, unfortunately, is its main weakness. Block does a GREAT job describing alcoholic character, etc. However, he spends so much time doing it that the actual mystery suffers.. In fact, it suffers greatly.

First, there
...more
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17613
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...

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)
  • When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6)
  • Out on the Cutting Edge (Matthew Scudder, #7)
  • A Ticket to the Boneyard (Matthew Scudder, #8)
  • 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)
The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1) Hit Man (Keller, #1) When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6) Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #1) A Walk Among the Tombstones (Matthew Scudder, #10)

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“You know, it was a revelation to me to learn that I don't have to be comfortable. Nowhere is it written that I must be comfortable. I always thought if I felt nervous or anxious or unhappy I had to do something about it. But I learned that's not true. Bad feelings won't kill me. Alcohol will kill me, but my feelings won't.” 4 likes
“I thought, My name is Matt and I'm an alcoholic. A woman I know got killed last night. She hired me to keep her from getting killed and I wound up assuring her that she was safe and she believed me. And her killer conned me and I believed him, and she's dead now, and there's nothing I can do about it. And it eats at me and I don't know what to do about that, and there's a bar on every corner and a liquor store on every block, and drinking won't bring her back to life but neither will staying sober, and why the hell do I have to go through this? Why?” 1 likes
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