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A Dance At The Slaughterhouse (Matthew Scudder #9)

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4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,985 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
In Matt Scudder's mind, money, power, and position elevate nobody above morality and the law. Now the ex-cop and unlicensed p.i. has been hired to prove that socialite Richard Thurman orchestrated the brutal murder of his beautiful, pregnant wife. During Scudder's hard drinking years, he left a piece of his soul on every seedy corner of the Big Apple. But this case is more ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 3rd 2000 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1991)
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
114th out of 519 books — 645 voters
The Black Echo by Michael ConnellyThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythEye of the Needle by Ken FollettIn the Woods by Tana French
Edgar Award Winners
39th out of 84 books — 130 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Trudi

Picking this one up I was not prepared for such a trip into dark and depraved waters. This is more than Scudder has ever gone up against previously and definitely the strongest in the series since Eight Million Ways To Die. While we've moved along in years out of the 80's into the early 90's, New York City continues to be a seething trap of anger and violence and desperation with all those ways to die and Scudder has stumbled upon yet another one. This time, he didn't even go looking for it, not
...more
Kemper
Mar 04, 2014 Kemper rated it it was amazing
A few years ago I was talking to somebody in my cube at work, and the name of the small town I grew up in came up. A woman who worked in the cube across the aisle from mine looked up and said that since I was from that town, that I must know of this other smaller town that was nearby. I laughed and replied that my relatives made up 80% of the population of that town. She asked if I was related to X. He was my second cousin. She was his ex-wife. We had worked across from each other for a year wit ...more
Dan Schwent
Matthew Scudder is hired to figure out if a TV anchor man killed his wife. But what does that have to do with a snuff film a friend of Matt's found disguised as the Dirty Dozen at a video store?

Scudder really stepped in it this time. The Stettners, and to a lesser extent Richard Thurman, the accused anchor, are perverts and psychopaths of the worst kind, the kind that prey on children. I thought James Leo Motely in the previous Scudder book was the worst villain Block could come up with but I w
...more
James Thane
A wealthy New York couple, Richard and Amanda Thurman, arrives home at their upscale apartment after a night on the town. Several hours later, Richard punches out 9-1-1 with a pipe tool between his teeth, and the police arrive to find him beaten and tied up in the neighbors' apartment immediately below his own. Amanda Thurman, who was pregnant with the couple's first child, has been raped, beaten and strangled to death.

Thurman tells detectives that two men who had burgled the neighbors' apartme
...more
Richard Vialet
Jan 11, 2016 Richard Vialet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Lawrence Bock and his Matt Scudder books
*3.5 Stars*
“Sometimes it's a dog-eat-dog world and the rest of the time it's the other way around.”
This year I've realized that I'm not that big of a fan of standard detective series. They get too repetitive and frankly boring after a while. It nearly broke my heart when I realized that I was starting to feel the same way about this book in Lawrence Block's Scudder series, arguably the top of the detective pack. As I read, I started to notice the formula and the trends. Once again, Scudder
...more
Tfitoby
Sep 09, 2014 Tfitoby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Matt Scudder's finest outing to date. Potentially also the darkest and most brutal too. As Matt investigates the possibility that a husband murdered his wife he stumbles across a snuff film and all the hell that that entails. Block's descriptive passages are shocking and disturbing and the impact on his protagonist is equally as impressively written. The constant evolution of Scudder as a person is at the heart of all that is good about this series, the further away he gets from the booze the mo ...more
Anthony Vacca
Feb 13, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, punk-rock
A Dance at the Slaughterhouse may not have the most inspired name, but this 9th entry in Lawrence Block’s inimitable series of novels starring Matthew Scudder—a reformed alcoholic and an ex-dirty-cop who now makes a living as an unlicensed PI—stands as yet another beacon of excellence in a line-up of absurdly high quality mysteries that prove, again and again, the unique literary traits and themes that a well-written genre novel can reckon with unlike any other game in town, and does so in a man ...more
Brandon
Jan 19, 2012 Brandon rated it really liked it
Matt Scudder is hired by the brother of a recently murdered woman. He's given the unfortunate task of investigating the husband who is believed by most to have had a hand in her demise. Shortly after taking the job, Matt finds himself drawn back into something that had impacted his life just a few months earlier.

Coming off the heels of the 8th Scudder novel in which Matt encounters his most dangerous adversary, Block created an impressive follow up. Block gives Scudder plenty to do here, hitting
...more
Josh
Oct 29, 2015 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The world is an unforgiving place and for Matt Scudder, it's the very bottom of humanities pecking order that helps him ply his trade. Wallowing in the pits of despair, reformed alcoholic and ex-cop Scudder gets knee deep in the criminal underworld of exploration, false promises, and broken dreams as he tries to solve a rape and murder of which the key suspect is the victim's husband. The case leads him down a dark rabbit hole that shines a light on the snuff film trade.

Lawrence Block doesn't d
...more
Ed
Dec 05, 2008 Ed rated it really liked it
This is my second P.I. Matt Scudder book. First class hardboiled fare. Snuff films, Matt's meetings, boxing matches -- it's all in here. Mr. Block has to write some of the smoothest prose in fiction today. Great stuff.
Tim Niland
Dec 31, 2012 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Unlicensed private investigator Matthew Scudder is approached by a fellow attendee at an AA meeting asking him to look at a videocassette he recently acquired. It turns out to have a brutal sado-masochistic snuff film. Scudder is shocked and appalled, but doesn't know what he can do, the killers were masked and their victim another disappeared child of the street. At the same time, he takes a case of a murdered woman in Manhattan. She was brutally raped and murdered while the husband was barely ...more
Monica
Feb 27, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it
"Stay tuned," I said. "Don't change the channel."

Why would anyone get to the 9th book in the Matthew Scudder series and not be eager and ready to read the 10th??

This one is all about nasty sex crimes against children, murder...and of course Matt as he ties it all together and then decides what he’s going to do about it. Love the returning appearance of many characters... Elaine...Joe Durkin...even Andy the dart player. And my personal favourite...Mick Ballou. Block is genius at reminding his rea
...more
Scott Cumming
Feb 04, 2016 Scott Cumming rated it it was amazing
For a long time my world of American crime literature consisted of Pelecanos, Lehane and Don Winslow and with UK bookshops not stocking a great deal of US stock apart from the most popular novelists it's taken me a long time to find other authors to join the aforementioned. There was also my aversion to long running detective series as I prejudicially and pretentiously thought they were all alike and of little consequence. How very wrong could I be!

I initially came across Lawrence Block through
...more
Ensiform
Jul 15, 2012 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The ninth Matt Scudder novel, in which he’s hired to determine whether a socialite raped and killed his own wife. Scudder’s shadowing of the perp leads, through a possibly unlikely set of circumstances, to his discovery of a snuff-film and thrill-murder ring. The unbelievable way in which the two plots intersect is a minor flaw, as is the introduction of TJ, the cartoonish street-talking, street-wise Stereotypical Black Kid, who will become even sillier later. A small step down from the previous ...more
Michael
Matt Scudder is hired by the brother of a TV Anchor to see if the woman's husband either killed or had her killed.

The author certainly knows the New York territory and enlightens the reader of what is going on in the fight ring and in many of the gay bars in the New York Chelsea areas.

Matt uncovers a connection to "The Dirty Dozen" and spends time searching for an old time TV buff. He's an unlicensed PI and former cop. He's also a member of AA and asked by another member to find the killer of th
...more
Piker7977
Jun 22, 2016 Piker7977 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-mystery
Matthew Scudder is investigating a widower whose wife's murder is shrouded in mysterious circumstance. The husband is a television boxing promoter with a perceived motive to kill his wife. Upon surveying the suspect at a boxing match, Scudder recognizes another gentleman in the audience. Where has he seen this man before? After a jarring recall, Scudder remembers watching footage of this man committing a heinous crime on videotape. To find out the name and identity of this creep, Scudder must hi ...more
Steven Montano
Mar 12, 2015 Steven Montano rated it really liked it
Another terrific Matt Scudder novel.

Former alcoholic NYPD cop turned unlicensed PI Matt Scudder is a hell of a good character. Block rarely succumbs to well-worn cliches, and even on those occasions when you feel you're venturing into familiar territory it's hard to get over how real Scudder feels as a character. His world is one of darkness, shady deals and violence, but the man at the core of the story is what keeps these novels so fascinating.

This time around, Scudder is hired to prove a law
...more
Bill
Feb 04, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Block's Matt Scudder series is about a NY ex-cop private investigater recovering alcoholic whose girlfriend is a high-priced prostitute. And you think you got troubles?
This novel I've singled out is probably smack-dab in the middle of the series, but it really doesn't matter. It's a gritty read about the snuff movie industry. Great writer here, folks.
I've read four or five from the Scudder series and they're all great reads.
Scott
Dec 05, 2014 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ninth Lawrence Block mystery novel featuring his former New York City detective, turned private investigator Matthew Scudder. Scudder is a very interesting character. He is a recovering alcoholic who spends a large amount of his time in AA meetings, and has a slew of questionable friends and a prostitute for a girlfriend.

The story begins with Scudder being hired to investigate the murder of a woman whose husband is a television producer for a local cable sports channel. As Scudder begins to
...more
Darren
Sep 12, 2014 Darren rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Darren by: Peter Straub
I started in on the Scudder books because of Peter Straub's "appreciation of the Scudder series" in Sides,but not right away. I held off because they sounded too raw for me. Too real. I held off because I was worried that they would all be like this one, really. Had I started with this novel, I think I would have put it down and never picked up another of the series. This is an intense and visceral book, unflinching in its depiction of torture and murder, unflattering even of its heroes.

I'm gla
...more
Violette Malan
May 16, 2016 Violette Malan rated it it was amazing
I've read this book before, and I'll likely read it again. I'm a big fan of Lawrence Block, particularly his Matt Scudder books, and particularly this one. I believe this is a perfect book. Not THE perfect book, mind you, just A perfect book. There are no characters with nothing to do, nothing, in fact that shouldn't be there, and nothing that's missing. I've recommended it to people who had never read any precious Matt Scudder book, and they were able to dive right in, with equal enjoyment. If ...more
Mike
Mar 23, 2010 Mike rated it really liked it
First Line: Midway into the fifth round the kid in the blue trunks rocked his opponent with a solid left to the jaw.

A Dance At the Slaughterhouse is the ninth novel to feature Lawrence Block’s private detective, Matthew Scudder. Scudder, an unlicensed detective and currently sober alcoholic is hired to find out if (or how) a TV producer manged to stage the rape and murder of his own wife. Of course, as with most of the detective novels I’ve read so far, that really only describes the plot at the
...more
Eric_W
Jan 28, 2010 Eric_W rated it really liked it
It's funny, this book started out as a boxing book and I almost dropped it right there. Then chapter two came along and I was hooked.

Prominent attorney Richard Thurman and his wife are brutally attacked following an evening out as they arrive home in their apartment. She is raped and beaten, he is robbed and knocked unconscious. Upon reviving, he discovers his hands are bound, mouth taped and his wife dead on the floor. He manages to knock over a lamp and his pipe-cleaning tool with which he pok
...more
Nikki
I'm not sure why I've never read any of Lawrence Block's books before, since his name has been familiar almost since I started reading mysteries. This is one of the Matt Scudder novels. Scudder is an unlicensed private eye, ex-cop, recovering alcoholic deep into the Program; his apparent best friend is a real hard guy who's into a lot of illegal activities and his girlfriend is a callgirl. Needless to say he lives in New York (where else?) I would almost say I enjoyed this book in spite of mysel ...more
Mohammed
Nov 23, 2013 Mohammed rated it it was amazing
When i read first half of this novel it was midlevel quality Scudder book but it ended being a real powerful story both emotionally, cerebrally. It dealt with deeper issues than you expect in crime books, Scudder had to deal in the end with morally questionable things that bothered me both emotionally and if it was right or wrong in my mind.

I had to think through what was discussed by the characters a few times when i finished the novel. I enjoyed that it left me something to think about afterw
...more
Ty Wilson
Oct 01, 2014 Ty Wilson rated it it was amazing
Matthew Scudder has a new client. A man hires him to investigate the murder of his sister. The brother is convinced his sister's husband either killed her or had her killed. Scudder investigates as only he can, with a dogged determination that leads him down some very dark pathways into the darkest side of human nature. Scudder finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the brutal world of homeless kids, bondage porn and snuff films. This is the best novel yet in the series and in this one it ge ...more
JD
Nov 10, 2015 JD rated it it was amazing
Shelves: next-level
Feels like a precursor for Lehane's Kenzie and Genarro series, a guided tour through the infernal depths of the Rotten Apple.
Joy
Mar 29, 2016 Joy rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark
Apr 29, 2015 Mark added it
Scudder #9 is fast out of the gate and an almost perfectly constructed crime thriller--it's no wonder it won an Edgar, and that's fully deserved. Lots of readers claim A DANCE AT THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE is the high point in the series to that point, and I could agree on purely aesthetic grounds, but I still feel SACRED GINMILL gets the edge for what it does emotionally. (An observation which may cause you to wonder if I'm really the kind of person who should be reading crime novels.) In SLAUGHTERHOUS ...more
Kathleen Hagen
A Dance at the Slaughterhouse, by Lawrence Block, A. Narrated by Joe Barrett, Produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from audible.com

This, to my mind, is the best one I’ve read so far of the Matt Scudder series. In this one, Matt goes to an A. A. meeting where he is approached by another attendee and handed what appears to be a VCR tape of “The Dirty dozen.” He says, “I’ve seen this many times, why are you giving me this tape?” The man responded: “you haven’t seen a tape like this.” He was rig
...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)
  • 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 Ticket to the Boneyard (Matthew Scudder, #8)
  • A Walk Among the Tombstones (Matthew Scudder, #10)
  • The Devil Knows You're Dead (Matthew Scudder, #11)

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“Sometimes it's a dog-eat-dog world and the rest of the time it's the other way around.” 0 likes
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