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All the Flowers Are Dying (Matthew Scudder #16)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,715 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
In his sixteenth Matthew Scudder novel, All the Flowers Are Dying, New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block takes the award-winning series to a new level of suspense and a new depth of characterization. Building on the critical and commercial success of Hope to Die, Block puts Scudder -- and the reader -- at the very edge of the abyss.

Scudder, a complex character w
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published February 15th 2005)
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James Thane
This, the sixteenth Matthew Scudder novel, opens as a psychologist comes to a Virginia prison to visit a man condemned to death for the brutal murders of three young boys. Although the evidence against him was overwhelming, the prisoner continues to protest his innocence. The psychologist claims to believe in the man's innocence, and he's the only one who does. The two men develop something of a relationship over the course of several visits and, at the end, the condemned man asks his new friend ...more
Bill  Kerwin

Coming from a master of the crime novel, this book is a major disappointment. It is also a classic example of the havoc that may be caused by an out of control serial killer. I am speaking here not of life itself, but of the world of the novel: All the Flowers are Dying shows what deplorable things may happen when a serial killer character controls his novelist, not the other way ‘round.

I’ll admit the character is an attractive one; I even enjoyed his appearance in the previous novel Hope to Die
Dan Schwent
After framing an innocent man for three brutal murders, a killer from Matthew Scudder's past has resurfaced and means to get revenge on Matt and everyone he holds dear. Can Matthew find the killer before the killer finds him?

"Wow!" is the best way I can sum this one up. I've read that Block wrote this one to be the series ender and it easily could be. As usual, Block delivered the goods and had me guessing, even though I knew who the killer was when I opened the book. There was a red herring tha
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scudder
This isn’t the last Matt Scudder book that Lawrence Block wrote, but since Matt would now be in his 70s and the one after it, A Drop of the Had Stuff, is a flashback novel, this is technically the last case that he works. It seems unlikely that there will be a new one that isn‘t set in the past but Block has seemingly reached the end of Matt’s story before and come back to it so nothing would surprise me. While I‘m not sure about that, I do know that this marks the last book that I’ve reread for ...more
Jason Koivu
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, detective
Block lulls you into a sense of ease. His words read like a meeting of two long-time friends over a cup of coffee. They don't necessarily have a great deal to say to one another, they just enjoy each other's company. And then next thing you know someone's been shot/stabbed/raped and a murder is being solved.

That happens through out All the Flowers are Dying. There's an ebb and flow of action from start to finish that sometimes switches between the two like flicking on and off the lights. It's a
Jan 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scudder completionists
A Matt Scudder book that came perilously close to the "DNF" as soon as I discovered Block using a serial killer viewpoint.

Dear Block, why did you do this? It was such a great run--was a serial killer really the direction you wanted to take the Scudder series? Why, I remember the good ol' days when Scudder was a life drop-out, hanging out on bar stools and nursing his way through a whiskey and coffee, subsisting on his favors for 'friends.' Now officially retired and respectable, Scudder is still
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The day I started my journey through the Scudder series in 2011, I’ve been dreading this moment. I somehow managed to stretch the sixteen novels over the past four years in an attempt to get maximum enjoyment out of the series. It was a great choice, if I don’t say so myself. While there are still two books to follow (A Drop of The Hard Stuff / The Night & The Music), this is the final novel in the Scudder chronology.

Luckily, Block chose to go out on a high note. In All The Flowers Are Dying
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the Flowers are dying by Lawrence Block.

I first read this book when it was published and now had the distinct pleasure of listening to it on CD performed by Alan Sklar.

This is a Matthew Scudder mystery. We enter this story as an observer to an execution. This beginning of major atrocities had me on the edge of my seat as few if any books have ever held a reaction such as this. The story teller (L.B.) takes us into the mind of a psychopath...a serial killer. A killer who painstakingly plots
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost at the end of the Scudder series and don't agree with the comments from some that the series falls off a bit towards the end.
The ones in the middle are the best but the whole series has been excellent and all the more enjoyable for having read them in order as by the end there are frequent references to previous books. This one ended up being one of my favourites and was very hard to put down. Just A Drop of the Hard Stuff and the short story collection The Night and the Music to go now.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Rating: 3.5

I enjoyed this book. At times I found this book slumping, mostly because I felt myself not caring about the personal backgrounds/narratives of the main characters for some reason. I really don't know why I felt my brain not caring about them.

The serial killer I found fascinating. Such an evil man. There was no redemptive narrative for this character. It was oddly refreshing.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
SETTING: New York City
SERIES: #16 of 18
RATING: 4.25
WHY: Sequel to "Hope to Die". A lot going on in this book. We see events from 2 perspectives. There's Matt Scudder and his typical PI work. And then there's a demented, devious serial killer is hard at work. His scheming brain is mind boggling. After killing someone close to Matt and Elaine, he homes in on them. Truly terrifying. A bit too much time in the mind of the killer (italicized chapters) for my taste but otherwi
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I confess. About three-fourths of the way through the book, I read the last chapter. I couldn't stand it--had to know. Lawrence Block has been messing with readers' minds for a long time, and he's very, very good at it.

In remarks others have made, it's intriguing to note that those unfamiliar with earlier books in the Matt Scudder series seem tentative in their assessment. They seem to feel they're missing some of the pieces, and perhaps that's true. I probably became acquainted with Matt Scudde
Joe Bailey
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sequel of "Hope to Die". Block really gets into the head of the psycho on this one. You feel dirty after reading the chapters focusing on the serial murderer and his internal musings. Another great entry in the seies. Not for the squeamish!
Katherine Clark
I love the Matt Scudder series, but this and the previous one were extremely annoying. Both featured one of those seemingly invulnerable serial killers, and much of the books were told through the eyes/voice of the serial killer. I've decided that I hate this. There was also some graphic torture scense (also a no-no for me) and just flat out distressing moments. I saw very little "detecting" and just a lot of anxiety. We'll see what the last book holds...
Stephen Arnott
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, thriller
This book sees a return of the chilling killer who haunted the previous book in the series Hope to Die. Much of the story is told from the POV of this charismatic but horrifying character, and though this is unusual for a Scudder story (and seems to have upset a few die-hard fans), Block uses it to full advantage; wringing every last drop of tension out of the tale.
If you are a fan of the Matthew Scudder series, this is a must read.

Block spends much more time viewing things from the eyes of a sadistic murderer in this book, which he does so well, it is unnerving. But the drop to 3 stars from 4 is due to just that. This book, unlike the others I have read in this series is so focused on the mind of the murderer it almost caused me to stop reading.

Richard White
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
#16 in the series and really good. You must first read the previous book, Hope To Die, as the two books are closely linked. Just started the last book in the series so stay tuned for a series review.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several of the Matthew Scudder series by Lawrence Block and they've all been good, but this one stands out a little from the rest. I really enjoyed it.
I am unable to complete the reading of this particular book as it is too emotionally distressing for me. I did read to page 144. Then it was predictable as to what I would have to read through if I persisted.

Of course I knew at the end of the last book (#15) there would be a reappearance of the serial killer. There is a whole lot of creepy that comes with that and then a whole lot of brutal, sick violence I am unable to take in.

It is somewhat alarming to know the author wrote this while here at
Nov 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry, but the first bloom has gone, and it has been replaced with another voice, another set of characters, another narrative style, and what I liked has reversed.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sleuthing
Here I thought I'd read all the Scudder books, and I go and find a couple I purchased (years?) ago, just taking up space in my kindle, ignored. For all the darkness of the tale, I'm still counting that a pick-me-up.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The aged and mostly retired Scudder is working on a minor case --- to find out the background on an
AA acquaintance’s mysterious new boyfriend --- when death strikes close to Elaine. The demented serial killer with the razor-sharp intellect from Hope To Die is back, and out for revenge.

Block’s writing, if not at its full power, is still taut and fraught with suspense, and keeps the pages turning. Seeing the aged-in-real-time Scudder and all his cronies feels like a family reunion; that’s a great
May 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-modern
C2005: To the **star**/review police who may stumble across these comments, 1 star is referenced by GR itself as means “didn’t like it”. I did not like this book because of the contents. I did not realise that it involved harm to children (and a rape!) else I would not have picked up the book at all. But, it was the plot that I disliked not the style of writing. I did feel that perhaps it was too obvious a plot but that could be years of watching detective programmes and films so that what may h ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, crime
Even Lawrence Block's prodigious talent can't make the hyper-competent serial killer seem anything other than passée.

In my opinion the Scudder books shine the brightest when focusing on Matt and his patient, understand the people, understand the crime then know the perpetrator approach - smaller scale stuff about real human frailty and the desperate acts that follow from it (in both the criminal and the detective).
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Scudder, a retired policeman and sometime unlicensed PI Is asked by a friend to look into the man who she is dating and about whom she has some doubts (story line 1). A man on death row in Virginia is visited by a psychologist who is doing a study on death row inmates. The psychologist carries on a narrative throughout the book that begins to tell who he is and what he has been doing and eventually his tale and Matthew’s story begin to converge as the story reaches its conclusion.
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
The parts about the serial killer were chilling. It had me locking the doors and hearing noises all night. Excellent read. Wish I had more than 5 stars to give it.
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best in the series. I couldn't put it down, and I cried.
Joyce McKune
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cop-humor
Love Matt Scudder!
A man on death row claimed innocence all the way to his execution. Matt accidentally discovered the truth. A nightmare from his past.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noir, thriller fans
Matt Scudder is back! One of my favorite detective story characters, now in his early 60s, returns to take on a serial killer from a previous case.

The story opens with Scudder talking to Joe Durkin, who's retiring off the job and wants to know what it's like. The conversation helps bring us up to date on what Scudder's been up to and what he's doing now. He and his wife Elaine, an ex-high-end-escort, have an apartment in NYC where she runs a small antique shop and he takes on occasional assignm
"All The Flowers Are Dying" Is the 16th of the 17 Matthew Scudder novels. After it, Block took six long years before publishing another one. If you are just hopping on the Scudder train, you are late and you've missed much of the journey. Scudder Is a former NYPD officer who took it hard when a young child got killed in a shooting and lost the taste for the job. He also lost the taste for his first marriage and his suburban home and moved into a residential hotel and into the bars and dives. Eve ...more
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Lawrence Block has been writing crime, mystery, and suspense fiction for more than half a century. He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., LB attended Antioch College, but left before completing his studies; school authorities advised him that they felt he’d be happier elsewhere, and he thought this was remarkably perceptiv
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 Dance At The Slaughterhouse (Matthew Scudder, #9)
  • A Walk Among the Tombstones (Matthew Scudder, #10)
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