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Coward's Kiss

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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  166 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Some cases just won’t die—even after you’ve dumped the body
 
 
Ed London is the type of private investigator that you call to clean up the mess when your mistress turns up dead. But after he dumps a body in Central Park, it appears this case is still alive and kicking. Seems that the dead girl was in possession of something special that some very shady characters want back.
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ebook, 271 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (first published January 1st 1961)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jim
This was quite a twisty tale with a fairly typical Block hero, but I didn't care for it too much. It was a bit too twisty & clever, so never seemed real. If I wanted to point to a text book example of the genre, this would be it - text book, no humanity or realism, not fully engaging.
Bruce Nieminski
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lawrence-block
8/10
224 pages
Book # 31 of 2017

Great Block page turner set in 1960's New York, featuring private eye Ed London. Our detective's brother in law has contacted him, looking for answers to the murder of his lover. As London investigates, a mysterious briefcase becomes the center of attention.

Solid plot and crisp writing from Block make this a solid, if not unspectacular noir thriller.
Dave
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lawrence-block
Lawrence Block originally published "Death Pulls A Double Cross" in 1961 and later re-published it as "Coward's Kiss." You wish you had a brother-in-law like Ed London, someone who you can call when times are tough and there's no one else to turn to. Everyone needs a brother-in-law who you can call in the middle of the night when you show up at your mistress's apartment and find her lying in the middle of the living room with a hole in her head and you don't know what to do. London, without even ...more
Eric_W
Another Lawrence Block winner (are there any losers?) Called to get rid of a body by his friend Jack Enright (who happens to be married to his sister,) P.I. Ed London retrieves the body from Jack’s love-nest and dumps it in the park. Soon he begins a search for a briefcase loaded ostensibly with stolen diamonds, is attacked by several goons, and manages to sort out multiple double-crosses.

A sample: “I felt only halfway ridiculous holding the gun in one hand while I opened the door. I felt compl
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Ellen
Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coward's Kiss by Lawrence Block.

I have been a big fan of L.B. for a number of years especially in regards to the Matthew Scudder & Bernard Rhoddenbarr books. Love them.

This was a good story but not one of my favorites by L.B. by a long shot. Ed London a P.I. is trying to keep his brother in law out of trouble. What trouble? Trouble that's spelled with a capital D for death. A body, not just any body, of his bill's mistress has been found murdered. Now Ed has to move that body as far away fro
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Mike
Nov 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad story and fun to read. I have been reading detective stories one after the other. Many,as does this one, seem to be a parody of the "Maltese Falcon". In the afterword, the author says there will be no sequel. This is volume one of one. The author goes on to describe this story's genesis as an offshoot of a Ray Millard detective TV show from 1959/1960. From the author's discussion, it looks like the book was cobbled together. Dialogue is stereotypical old fashioned private eye. As in, " ...more
Any Length
I didn't like the book at first, because pf the way it was written and because of the writing style.
Then I realized this book must be quite old as the ages of the people in the book just wouldn't have matched up. I looked it up and realized it was first published in 1961. That explains a lot, like the excessive consumption of alcohol, the constant smoking, the overall attitude toward women and people of colour. A fast read for an afternoon or a medium plane ride, but still nothing to write home
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Joseph Bruno
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1961 when he was 23, this may have been Block's first novel. If not, than definitely one of his first.

Protaganist PI Ed London may have been the precurser to Block's Matthew Scudder, whom Block featured in 16 novels over 25 years, starting in the late 70's.

The motley cast of crooks in Coward's Kiss reminded me of the crew in the Maltese Falcon; only their quest was for a stash of long lost jewels, rather than the diamond-encrusted Black Bird.

Not as good as his later works, but Coward'
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Joe
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1961 when he was 23, this may have been Block's first novel. If not, than definitely one of his first. Protaganist PI Ed London may have been the precurser to Block's Matthew Scudder, whom Block featured in 16 novels over 25 years.

The motley cast of crooks in Coward's Kiss reminded me of the crew in the Maltese Falcon; only their quest was for a stash of long lost jewels, rather than the diamond-encrusted Black Bird.

Not as good as his later works, but Coward's Kiss is a must read for
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Glen U
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chauvinistic, gratuitous sex, violence, I love the pulp mysteries. And Lawrence Block is one of the best. Written in the sixties, "Coward's Kiss" is the forerunner for Block's later popular series featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr and Matthew Scudder. Although the writing style is simplistic and the dialogue can be a bit wearing, Block's prose is still a pleasure to read and the reader will enjoy the trip through the rough and tumble world of the hard boiled PI. A good read.
Carla Remy
I really liked the three Lawrence Block Hardcase Crime reprints I read from this era (the early sixties), and this was the same. Maybe I should read some of his newer stuff sometime, but it looks cheesy. There's just something charming about these early sixties written for the paperback market books that appeals to me. This was published in '61 as Death Pulls a Doublecross, and that's a more apt title and a better one than Coward's Kiss, which I don't like or get.
Derek
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Block was still learning the ropes of being a writer when he wrote this early detective novel. It's well-constructed and an easy read, but there's not a lot to recommend it, aside from his usual clever word play and the plot twists. A nice way to spend a few hours, but not as great as some of his later work.
Christa
A quick read in the tone of the 60's detective out to beat the mob at their own game. Little twist at the end I missed, so that's a score for the author as that's rare. Probably won't read this author again though I see he's written quite a bit.
Chris Birdy
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely early Lawrence Block. Ed London, a New York private investigator gets involved in a sticky situation as a family favor. He keeps getting threatened and beat up and can't even figure out why. It's an interesting story with a few twists.
Criss Rosenlof
Published in 1961, this book is written in the classic Noir style. Good storyline along with fun characters make for an enjoyable read.
Max
Nov 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not Block's best, but even then he is head and shoulders above most.
David Highton
intricate plot, hard bitten detective, over 50 years old but not too dated in style
Nancy
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I am sure this guy thinks he's Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett. Wait and see.
Denise M.
Sep 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: block-lawrence
AKA: Sheldon Lord, Jill Emerson, Paul Kavanaugh, Chip Harrison, Lawrence Block
Ceilidh
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Dashiell Hammett with a splash of Cain.
Bender
Nov 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Vel nihil quam accusantium sunt accusamus. Fuga incidunt quos aliquid et iure. Molestiae consequatur minus.
Jeff
A weak Sophomore effort from one of my favorite writers on one of my favorite imprints. The first time, I think, I've given either 2 stars. If you're interest in reading Block don't start here.
Lull Fitz
rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2014
Ann Whitehurst
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2017
Joel G Miller
rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2016
Jen
rated it liked it
Oct 16, 2016
Bob Hancock
rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2011
Kate
rated it it was ok
Jul 24, 2015
Jvs421
rated it it was ok
Feb 08, 2012
Dan Eggleston
rated it really liked it
Jun 20, 2014
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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
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