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Out on the Cutting Edge (Matthew Scudder #7)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,560 ratings  ·  78 reviews
It isn't called Hell's Kitchen for nothing - a gritty landscape of dark doorways and dirty alleys inhabited by crack addicts and the homeless.
For ex-cop Matt Scudder it's a city gone mad, but it's a city he can't leave. He's been hired to find missing would-be actress Paula Hoeldtke, but as the trail of the missing girl gets colder, the city is heating up to boiling point.
Paperback, 244 pages
Published December 7th 2000 by Orion (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,244)
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James Thane
Matthew Scudder is now three years sober, but he's still living in his tiny Hell's Kitchen hotel room and prowling the increasingly mean streets of New York as an unlicensed P.I. Crime is rising; the city seems dirtier than ever, and the number of homeless and other street people seems to be rising dramatically.

Into all of this steps Warren Hoeldtke, a Subaru dealer from Muncie, Indiana. His beautiful young daughter, Paula, graduated with a degree in Theater Arts from Ball State, and then set ou
Dan Schwent
A car dealer from Indiana hires Matthew Scudder to find his missing daughter, who went to New York to become an actress. Meanwhile, a fellow AA member of Scudder's dies in his apartment in what appears to be an accidental death. Can Scudder find the missing girl and figure out what really happened to his friend?

Out on the Cutting Edge is yet another of Lawrence Block's great Matthew Scudder books. As usual, the ending was a big surprise. The character of Mickey Ballou was a nice contrast to Scud
Potentially Unnecessary Preamble
I have this thing, a compulsion perhaps, wherein I cannot not finish a book (yes, that double negative needed to happen). I always worry that the ending will be so amazing as to have made any pain involved in the process worth it (that, and I've managed to convince myself that if I don't finish one book I'll just never finish another book again). Let me be clear, I love me my Matthew Scudder way too much to even consider not finishing one of his exploits, but the
And so begins the second phase of Matt Scudder.

Block had written about Matt trying to get sober in the mid-‘80s with 8 Million Ways to Die, and then he had done a flashback novel when Matt was still boozing during the ‘70s in When the Sacred Ginmill Closes so there’s been a pretty substantial gap in Matt’s timeline when this story starts up in 1989. (Thanks to winning an ARC of the upcoming A Drop of the Hard Stuff, I can report that Scudder fans will get some more info about what Matt was up to

Scudder is three years sober when we run into him again in Book 7, Out on the Cutting Edge. He's faithfully attending meetings, and even leading a few when the mood strikes him. He's also still living in his spare hotel room lodgings and with a lot more time on his hands now that he's quit the bar scene and sipping bourbon coffee by the quart. While the vapor fumes of booze no longer waft from his person, there is yet an elemental quality of loneliness that continues to seep from the pores of ou
Aug 21, 2012 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people looking for a good mystery
Another fine entry into the Scudder canon. Scudder is always saying he's had a flexible kind of morality, but the truth is, he's one of the most ethical people around, and this book shows the extent of his growth. He tries to do right and be fair, even if it's dealing with a small-time hood or a menacing Irishman with ties to organized crime. As always, characterization shines, and the plotting isn't anything to sneeze at either. The search for a missing woman gives Scudder focus, and now that h ...more
This series has become the benchmark for me of what a great PI book series is. I compare it to every detective book stories i have read before and everything i will read from now on. It is the best PI book series i have read of any era. I hold Hammett the best writer of this kind but his series was short stories with The Continental Op. Block series has surpassed the others with similar books.

The only real flaw in the novel was that Scudder was more lucky than he did good work in the case he wo
Richard Vialet
It's been a little over three years since the events in the stellar Eight Million Ways To Die, and Matt has successfully been able to stay sober and regularly participate in AA meetings. A man hires him to track down his missing actress daughter and we're off to the races with my next Matthew Scudder read!

The actual mystery storyline of the missing actress is one of the least interesting of all the Scudder books so far, but witnessing Matthew's struggle to maintain sobriety in Manhattan and his
Man, am I going to be sad when I officially get caught up and I have no more Scudder books to read. Good thing I have about 11 more to go!

When you pick this book up, you're going to notice some major changes to the Scudder universe. At the end of Eight Million Ways to Die, Matt comes to terms with his alcoholism and attends - and participates - in an AA Meeting. At the beginning of this novel, Matt is 3 years sober and is heavily involved in the program. Also, we meet a new character (Mick Ballo
Cathy DuPont
AA is no longer such a secretive organization thanks to Matt Scudder and his life now as a member of the somewhat secretive group. Secretive only because of the nature of why they meet, they're all alcoholics. This amounts to nothing for me except furthering my knowledge of the world around me.

Interesting storyline and Matt is at his best but the primary reason I gave it four stars is the ending. It is as surprising as an out of the blue firm slap on the face. OMG, really, Matt? You figured it o
We're all whirling merrily through the void on a dying planet, and gay people are just doing their usual number, being shamelessly trendy as always. Right out in front on the cutting edge of death.

After a flashback to the 70s in the previous Matt Scudder book we're back to his present with the seventh instalment; Matt's in AA now, been clean for over three years, and he's passing out wallet sized photos of a missing girl, an actress from Muncie, Indiana who fled small town life to make it as an
Two for the price of one, although the investigation into Eddie’s death has more coincidence and serendipity than one would like. Then again, serendipity had much to do with the rationale for Paula’s death.

Matt’s looking for Paula. Referred to by a local cop, Matt is “hired” by her father to find her. She has disappeared with no trace. She’s 24 and Matt put her picture on the back of his business card. That often leads to wiseacres calling and asking for money in return for information when all
Moira Russell
I bought this book because I couldn't find Eight Million Ways to Die at the local half price chain, and I wanted that book because this is one of the few series I've heard of in which the cop/detective is a recovering alcoholic. (I loved Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order for many, many years because of the background they gave him.) I started idly flipping through it, got hooked pretty quickly and finished it in a couple of hours -- it went down neat (heh) and Block is a good Plain Stylist with ...more
Matt Scudder, now fully sober, sets out to find a missing girl and instead finds a dead friend, and begins spending a lot of time with a woman who drinks and a mobster who runs a ginmill. Another great entry in the series. There aren’t as many real clues for the reader to guess the finale as in the previous book; Block is back to having Scudder “make a few calls” without giving us the info Scudder has. And the motive given for the killer isn’t quite plausible; there must be some missing element, ...more
Apparently, after the flashback story for the sixth book in this series (WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES), Block is finally ready to bring his now-sober sort-of-PI Matthew Scudder back into the present day with #7. OUT ON THE CUTTING EDGE feels at times a little tentative--as if Block is still working out what to do with a protagonist who spends his free time at AA meetings and not passing out after blurry nights of drinking Bourbon. The mystery here is a perfectly capable one: a young aspiring a ...more
Alcoholic ex-cop turned unlicensed private detective Matthew Scudder returns. Scudder, a little over three years sober, is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young ingénue from the Midwest. He doesn’t want the job, the trail is too cold and the clues are nonexistent, he tries to convince the young woman’s father that it would be money wasted, but when the father insists Scudder reluctantly accepts the job. With little hope that the girl will ever be found the detective goes through the ...more
Matthew Scudder Number Seven. Mr. Block has such a wonderful way of starting out slow and steady...building the story up bit by bit...and then slamming it home. Mr. Block is very good at writing. At this point in the series Matt is very familiar, however he continues to surprise me and make me smile. At this point I highly doubt that Block would be able to disappointment with his writing. He's able to spin such a great crime story. Strong, solid. I am a devoted fan for sure.
Matt Scudder sober is still a very "broken" individual - making him a more interesting character than the standard hard drinking PI.

Normally Matt breaks his cases by hard graft and a keen insight into the personality of the people surrounding the case; this time to answer falls to him via a "chance" connection and it is the denouement that takes center stage as he unwinds the threads and delivers closure to the victims and their families.

It is in this element that we see the reflection of change
Dave Sause
Lawrence Block's character, Matt Scudder, is fascinating. He left the police force after 15 years out of disillusionment with the system, but he took his detective talent with him; the biggest one is latching onto a 'needle in haystack' case and pursuing it with dogged determination until he finds out the truth. Block lays out dozens of jigsaw puzzle clues and takes you along as Scudder's brain rearranges them into a complete and coherent picture. He points out that 99% of detective work is look ...more
Samuel Tyler
Although Lawrence Block may be a very prolific crime writer, when reading the books themselves they actually have a pretty slow pace. The Matt Scudder mysteries are particularly languid as Scudder is not a man who likes to be rushed. His crime solving techniques require as much shoe leather as they do little grey cells. ‘Out on the Cutting Edge’ is a case in point; the story surrounds a missing girl who came to New York looking for fame, but finding someone in a place as large as The Big Apple i ...more
Matt Allen
Another fast read from Block which manages to put a lot of heavy thoughts in a swift tale.

One of the most interesting things for me about the last few books in this series is how Block can literally take us through Matthew Scudder's life and not drag us down with inanity. It's a workaday process here--I feel like I'm trudging around New York City with our protagonist, shadowing his day, a silent friend, a recovering alcoholic detective-in-training. That sounds boring and would be in the hands of
Kathleen Hagen
Out on the Cutting edge, by Lawrence Block, a-minus, Narrated by Dan Butler, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

In this book, Matt Scudder is hired as a private eye to find an innocent Midwestern girl who came to New York City at the age of 18 to make her fortune. She has disappeared, and her parents are frantic. As more and more time passes, and more and more clues lead to nothing, Matt is coming increasingly to the conclusion that the girl is dead. In the meantime, a new
I listened to the audio version of this book and it was great fun. Excellent writing and narration.

In this installment of the Matt Scudder series, Scudder is hired by an Indiana car dealer to find his daughter. The daughter, Paula Hoeldtke, arrived in New York in order to become an actress. Like many others, it didn't go so well for her.

She has been missing for several months and Scudder, who is now sober, takes on the job of trying to locate her. So Scudder begins to follow Hoeldtke's trail, w
Another wonderful installment in the story of Matt Scudder, in which he meets the butcher Mick Ballou, falls for a pretty woman, and traces the mystery of a vanished girl. The tragedy and salvation of falsehood play big roles in this hardboiled novel.
Mark Hennion
At its core, "Out on the Cutting Edge" reintroduces the reader to Matthew Scudder, the now-sober unlicensed PI. For those who are entering the series without reading previous titles, the story centers on Scudder, a hard-drinking ex-detective who takes cases from all strata of clientele on a word-of-mouth basis, set in New York City long before its present day shiny veneer.

The NYC of Scudder is a tenebrous, dog-eat-dog world where right and wrong sometimes share a bed but morality is clear cut. S
This is the first book written by Lawrence Block I have read and I enjoyed it very much. I read a book from the Matthew Scudder P.I. series and I am glad I chose this one. It is not the first book in the series but we get alot of background information about the character. The author has made him one of the most interesting and likeable private investigators in any series I have read. He is an ex cop and he has a drinking problem so he spends alot of time in AA meetings. Even the most minor char ...more
read this in march...finished on the 20th, 2014, and here it is the day after christmas, 2014. i put this one on my time passages shelf...which means that a character or more herein used their imagination in some fashion...the manner of expressing that always fascinating to me since...for is so rarely seen in literature. but we do it alla time, alla time. everyone understands a sexual fantasy, and that helps to explain what i mean by time passages.

and i've a place where i can go to retr
It's been years since I poked my way through the Matt Scudder series, choosing books based on the sexiness of their titles and avoiding others altogether, for no good reason. This has made it a real challenge now, ten years later, to deduce which of his books I have or haven't read. "Cutting Edge" was fun and fast, and has reacquainted me with why I so love Lawrence Block; it's all about the easy, natural dialogue he creates. This book spends half its length on building frustration over the dead ...more
Matt Scudder, now a sober alcoholic, is confronted with two mysteries. Eddie Dunphy, another AA member with a history of petty crime, tells Scudder after a meeting that he has something that he would like to get off his conscience. Before he can meet with Scudder to give him the full story, he is found dead in his room, the apparent victim of an accident during autoerotic self-strangulation. At about the same time Scudder is approached by Warren Hoeldtke, an auto dealer from Muncie, Indiana; who ...more
Tim Niland
Ex-police detective and unlicensed private investigator Matthew Scudder is three years into sobriety, still taking things one day at a time and attending daily AA meetings when he is approached by an Indiana car salesman whose daughter has gone missing in New York City. Scudder knows the possibility of finding the woman alive are slim, but agrees to take the case. Then, when a fellow AA member who asked Scudder to hear his fifth-step confession dies suddenly, there is another mystery on his plat ...more
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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...

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)
  • 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) 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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“I wanted a drink. There were a hundred reasons why a man will want a drink, but I wanted one now for the most elementary reason of all. I didn't want to feel what I was feeling, and a voice within was telling me that I needed a drink, that I couldn't bear it without it.

But that voice is a liar. You can always bear the pain. It'll hurt, it'll burn like acid in an open wound, but you can stand it. And, as long as you can make yourself go on choosing the pain over the relief, you can keep going.”
“We're all whirling merrily through the void on a dying planet, and gay people are just doing their usual number, being shamelessly trendy as always. Right out in front on the cutting edge of death.” 0 likes
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