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Time to Murder and Create (Matthew Scudder #2)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,289 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Small-time stoolie, Jake " The Spinner" Jablon, made a lot of new enemies when he switched careers, from informer to blackmailer. And the more "clients", he figured, the more money -- and more people eager to see him dead. So no one is surprised when the pigeon is found floating in the East River with his skull bashed in. And what's worse, no one cares -- except Matthew Sc ...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published July 2nd 2002 by Avon Books (first published 1976)
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Matthew Scudder, assisted by larger and larger doses of bourbon & coffee, investigates the brutal murder of a blackmailer known as the Spinner. The prime suspects are the Spinner’s three cash cows, including:

1. A former hooker/porn star turned high society wife;

2. A wealthy father of a reckless driving, man-slaughtering ex-drug addict; and

3. A buggery loving, pederast politician running for Governor of New York.

As Scudder begins to look into his dead friend’s operation, he finds himself
James Thane
This is the second book in Lawrence Block's excellent series featuring Matthew Scudder. It doesn't pack quite the emotional wallop of the first, The Sins of the Fathers, but it's a very good read nonetheless.

For those who don't know, Matthew Scudder is an ex cop who lives in New York City and who works as an unlicensed P.I. He left the force under tragic circumstances and has since developed a drinking problem which is here noticeably worse than it was in the first book. His "office" is in a sal
Oh Scudder, Scudder, Scudder. Other than learning that you do not, in fact, vote, my literary crush on you knows no bounds. With one-liners like
Somebody put money in the jukebox, and Lesley Gore said it was her party and she would cry if she wanted to.

You don’t want people driving cars at you. It’s unhealthy.

I, in fact, find you downright irresistible.
Since some pretty kick-ass reviewers have tackled this the second-written of Block's Matthew Scudder stories (see Trudi, Carol, Kemper, and D
Ahhh, Scudder...I have a bone to pick with you. Why you wanna hurt me so bad?

More on that in just a bit, first just a little note on the numbering of these early Scudder books. Feel free to skip this paragraph which cuts right to the nerd in me. I tend to be a tad OCD when I take on any series, and always want to read them in order. Goodreads has this book listed as #2 which turns out to be correct. In the afterword Block explains that Time to Murder and Create is the second Scudder book he wro
Spinner Jablon is a small-time criminal and hustler that Matt Scudder knows from his days on the police. Spinner shows up with money in his pockets and an offer for Matt; hold onto an envelope and if Spinner gets killed, open the envelope and act on it. It seems like easy money and weeks pass until he doesn’t make his regular check in and Spinner’s body is found in the river.

When Matt opens the envelope he finds a note from Spinner, a wad of cash and blackmail info on three people. Spinner’s not
Has the feel of Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye

Matt Scudder returns to investigate the death of a former acquaintance who has been murdered in the middle of a blackmail scam, the only difficulty is that there are three suspects "on the rope" and all three are equally reprehensible in their own way.

Again in this series the story is less about the investigation and more about the life choice of the detective, Scudder is a drunk who stumbles around New York in a manner highly reminiscent of Elliot
Mike French
Lawrence Block created a tremendous character in Mathew Scudder. Looking forward to reading more of this series. Very enjoyable and entertaining from start to finish!
Dan Schwent
Stoolie and blackmailer Spinner Jablon winds up dead and due to a mysterious envelope entrusted to him by Spinner, Matthew Scudder is trying to find out who killed him. Only Spinner was blackmailing three people: a former porn actress, a rich man who covered up his daughter's hit and run accident, and a pedophile who may just be the next governor of New York. Can Scudder find out who killed Jablon before he becomes a victim himself?

Wow. I knew I had something with Lawrence Block after I read the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2012 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noir dectective fans, NYC fans
Recommended to Carol. by: LoD
Second edition of Matthew Scudder's saga, and I'm looking forward to the next.

(Oh, who am I kidding? I've already started the next one, but had to stop and do the review for this so I can give it the thought it deserves).

Scudder's daily meandering between bourbon and coffee is interrupted when Spinner, one of his ex-stoolies, comes to him with a request. Hold on to an envelope; if Spinner dies, open it and take whatever action Scudder thinks is right. Nothing happens to Spinner, don't eyeball th
Matt Scudder has been entrusted with an envelope following the death of blackmailer, Jacob “Spinner” Jablon. The contents of said envelope you ask? Oh, nothing crazy, just evidence that could ruin the lives of three New Yorkers. Basically, Spinner has posthumously asked Scudder to find out who killed him. The only catch is that one of the 3 that Spinner had wrapped around his finger intends to silence Scudder just like they silenced Spinner. It all comes down to if Matt’s mind can work fast enou ...more
I guess I should state that this is the second Matthew Scudder novel.

Sometime while reading the second half of this book today it dawned on me that Scudder is quite a bit like another character I came across recently. At first I couldn't remember which one, but I knew it was from one of the Hard Case novels I've devoured in the past three months. I thought maybe it was from an earlier Lawrence Block novel, but then it hit me, Scudder is a lot like Matt Cordell (I had to look this up just now, I
Matthew Scudder is back and this time a small-time stoolie named Jake “The Spinner” Jablon has come to him for help. This informer has found a new line of business in blackmail but now one of his clients has figured it was better to kill than keep paying for his silence. After an attempt on his life goes wrong, The Spinner turns to Scudder to be his avenging angel if he ever does wind up dead. Only problem is when he eventually was found floating in the river, Scudder had to work out just who fi ...more
Cathy DuPont
Hummm. Matthew Scudder is a fellow who does 'favors' for friends for 'gifts' such as money. Not really a P. I. although all indications lead the reader to believe that's what he is, a P.I. That an ex-cop who resigned after 15 years on the force due to an accidential shooting by him of an innocent little girl. That would make anyone re-examine thier lot in life.

Scudder knows he drinks far to much. He can be forgiven though since he donates regularly to the money box in churchs. One religion, no,
The second book in the Scudder series is very good but doesn't quite match up to the near perfect first entry. It seemed a little too clear cut to have three possible murderers right off the bat -- too clean. But Scudder's response to a death is deep and soul twisting, and that's what elevates the whole book.
After a stoolie turned blackmailer friend of Scudder’s is killed, Scudder tries to find out which of the three targets the lowlife was extorting did him in. As with the first novel, this is not so much a murder mystery as a hard-boiled, dark trip into the psyche of a man who has, in a way, left the human race. In this book, Scudder intimidates people, is indirectly responsible for a suicide, lets a pedophile go undiscovered, drinks way too much, and in the end, doesn’t even find the man directly ...more
Started the New Year with the first Matt Scuddder The Sins of the Fathers and that was a great choice. With the second Scudder completed, I'm hooked. Our bourbon and coffee drinking, unlicensed PI, who pays tithes to whatever church he's near or open.
With sparse writing, gritty, despair in the air... this hard boiled series is fast becoming a favorite.
Benoit Lelievre
The Scudder books have this unique dynamic where an interloper goes against respectful people and yet it's not confrontational. I think this is the secret behind the pathos of Lawrence Block's books. Time to Murder and Create was as good as Sins of the Father and a little tighter event. The plot was tighter and it was really hard to find out who actually did it. It's also a more balanced novel with a grittier edge. Excellent hardboiled fiction once again.

Lawrence Block’s second book in his Matthew Scudder series: Time to Murder and Create, opens with the death of Scudder’s associate Jake “The Spinner” Jablon. Jablon was a piddling miscreant, a stoolie, and a reprobate. He had been branching out in his odious and illicit endeavors, trying his hand at blackmail. Jablon was a criminal, he was contemptible and feckless. But he did have one thing going for him, he knew Scudder.

The title of the book is taken from a line in T.S. Elliot’s The Love Song
This series. This series here.
Thank god there are a lot of books in it, because I think I'm in love.
Matt Scudder. So tragic and guilty and badass. It doesn't even matter if he solves a case, just the blundering around threatening people, being sad and drinking is enough for me.
Anyway, this book is good. I can't think of anything else to say right now that isn't a spoiler.
Perry Whitford
When a minor criminal from his past turns up at Scudder's favorite bar asking him to hold a package for him but not to open it, the information contained within is obviously pretty valuable, clearly potentially dangerous. When said con man and sometime narc, Jakob 'The Spinner' Jablon, disappears, only to be reappear fished out of the East River with a crushed skull, Matthew Scudder has no choice but to open the envelope, and come what may.
The Spinner had been playing three different marks for b
In Time to Murder and Create, the second Matthew Scudder novel, a dead man leaves Scudder payment to find his killer, and our hero pursues the case because he is compulsively honorable, even if he is not particularly ethical. Scudder’s plan is to tempt the killer into attempting to kill Scudder, thereby exposing the killer’s identity. By all rights, Scudder ought to die in this novel; he is, after all, a drunk who takes no particular measures to keep himself safe. Perhaps this is a half-assed su ...more
When he didn't get a call from "Spinner" on the eighth Friday in a row, Matthew Scudder knew the little blackmailer was dead. He;d aasked Matt to hold an envelope, don't look inside unless he failed to make the weekly call. He didn't even know which of the three of his blackmail victims had tried to kill him. Matt holding the envelope had been his insurance on his life.

It hadn't worked.

Now Matt had a choice laid out by the Spinner when he gave him the evidence. He could do something about it or
SERIES: #2 of 17
WHY: Matt Scudder is hired by a petty crook to hold on to an envelope to be opened in case he is found dead. Of course, that happens; Matt finds out that Spinner was blackmailing at least 3 people, any one of whom might have been his murderer. The envelope provides evidence on all 3. Scudder sets himself as Spinner's successor to try to flush out the killer. A good concept that proved quite puzzling to figure out. Excellent wri
Ed [Redacted]
No time for a review, so here are some random thoughts:

Lawrence Block is a motherfucking P.I.M.P. Everything he writes is gold.

I think I like Drunk Scudder better than Sober Scudder, I don't know yet.

Is there a better sandwich than the Reuben, there are certainly sandwiches that are equal, but better?

Fun Scudder fact; After totally setting it us so that three people are in a position to try to kill him, one of which was a murderer, he only get pretty drunk, rather than totally shitfaced.

I'll tr
Matt Scudder returns in this blackmailing novel. Spinner Jablon is dead. he's killed and found in the river.

Scudder received a package from him earlier to be open in case he was dead. Three potential killers. A businessman. A rich lady. or a politician.. Who would want Spinner and maybe Scudder dead too ?
As with others, I liked the way Block strayed from the typical type of story arc. He upped the ante in this one though, because it builds up early on and doesn't slow down until the end. It was better than Sins of the Fathers in my opinion but the end didn't grab me by the throat like the last couple dozen pages of When the Sacred Ginmill Closes did. Its short length also seemed to help the story. I'd recommend it as a great introduction to the series, but this is only the third Scudder book I'v ...more
Before Spinner Jablon was pulled out of the East River with his head bashed in, he commissioned unlicensed PI Matthew Scudder to find his killer. With this pretense, Time to Murder and Create kicks off into a tightly-plotted little whodunit. Scudder has three suspects: the father of a reformed man-slaughterer, a former hooker turned high-society type, and a wealthy pedophile with political aspirations. Nobody in this novel is especially noble, but Scudder and Jablon at least share a similar ethi ...more
Matt Scudder has been paid posthumously by a blackmailer to find which of the mailer's "clients" played a hand in his murder. The candidates are a minor businessman trying to protect his daughter; a trophy wife with a much wilder past; and an aspiring politician with a dark secret. You know how "the lady and the tiger" refers to a situation where one choice is disastrous and one isn't, and there's no real way to tell between them? Well, Scudder has three tigers to choose from instead. I hadn't r ...more
Scudder...what a hard character to describe. He has a code. This code of his teeter-totters on the fringes of law, decency, and justice. That is what makes his stories so compelling and interesting to read.

Time to Murder and Create differs from the first book by following a more standard means of following a mystery, searching for a murderer rather than a personality of a victim. The three suspects were interesting and intriguing and the ending is enjoyably gloomy (although mildly frustrating).
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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)
  • 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 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) When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6) Hit Man (Keller, #1) Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #1)

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“Your unconscious mind takes the things you can’t handle and plays with them while you sleep until some of the sharp corners are worn off.” 2 likes
“The moving finger writes, and having writ Moves on. Nor all your piety and wit Can call it back to cancel half a line Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.” 1 likes
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