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Even the Wicked (Matthew Scudder #13)
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Even the Wicked

(Matthew Scudder #13)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,093 ratings  ·  121 reviews
An anonymous letter writer, the self-styled 'Will of the People', targets prominent criminals and evil-doers that the law cannot reach - and kills them. All of them are dubbed by the Will 'society offenders who might as well be in the ground' - and he sends his hit-list to a tabloid newspaper columnist. His latest target is a criminal defence attorney who's got one too man ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published July 6th 2000 by Orion Books (first published 1996)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  2,093 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin

This is not a bad book. I am not sure Lawrence block is capable of writing a bad book. But it is a book in which the Block Magic—that deceptively discursive narrative style which can unite a couple of plots, a smattering of anecdotes and a few observations into a pleasing whole—just does not work.

I’m not sure exactly why. Perhaps because neither of detective Matt Scudder’s cases (a series of killings by “The Will of the People” who announces his targets in advance, and one random execution of a
Dan Schwent
A vigilante calling himself The Will of the People is killing undesirables and gloating about it in the Daily News and Matthew Scudder is one the case. But what, if anything, do these killings have to do with man afflicted with AIDs being gunned down in broad daylight?

Block lead me around by my nose through most of this one. It took me forever to figure out what was going on with Will and what was behind Byron Leopold's murder. I liked how TJ kept trying to drag Matt into the computer age. As in
James Thane
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes crime fiction
Shelves: crime-fiction
I've said several times here now that I believe Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series to be the best PI series ever written. Some of the books individually stand with any of the classics produced by people like Raymond Chandler et al., but Block has produced far more books in this series (sixteen and soon to be seventeen) than any of the other "Masters" of the genre. The books are consistently very good if not great, and in addition to writing a number of inventive and absorbing plots, Block h ...more
And you thought the tabloids were bad when they were just bugging phones….

After a child rapist and murderer gets released on a technicality, a New York columnist writes a piece openly wishing for the man’s death. Someone helps make this become a reality by stringing the pedophile up and then writes to the columnist taking credit and calling himself the “Will of the People”.

Apparently murder is just like eating potato chips because Will can’t stop after just one and begins writing more letters i
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Scudder fans
Shelves: mystery, male-lead
A solid three star read in which Matt Scudder takes on the classic locked-room mystery. Although not one of the more memorable Scudder books, it's an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. Let the rain begin!

We begin with a pleasant domestic scene, TJ and Scudder at Scudder's house, watching a boxing match. TJ is leafing through a spy catalog idly suggesting ideas for their business, particularly a computer system. It becomes a telling detail about moving Scudder forward into the future and his r
David Schaafsma
This is a long book for Block, but hey, you get three murders solved in one book for the price of one! Let's call it a hat trick, hockey fans, and yes, at least twice people use this term to describe Scudder's accomplishment in the book. First he solves what seems to be a public serial killer mystery where the killer--The Will of the People--bumps off people we all are not sorry to see go and writes letters to the newspaper about his plans and accomplishments. Anyway, two of these three cases ge ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
At the urging of an opinion piece, a vigilante takes to the streets of New York knocking off an accused child molester who up until now, has escaped the hand of justice. Succeeding in his mission, he dubs himself “The Will of the People” (or “Will” for short). Shortly after, he writes into a prominent New York newspaper threatening the lives of several other less than savory citizens.

It isn’t until a particularly well known lawyer finds himself in Will’s crosshairs that Matt Scudder is brought i
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last two entries in the Scudder series were a bit weaker compared to the overall high standards it has maintained since The Sins of the Fathers. Even the Wicked brings it right back on track. It has a fluidity that the best books in the series have though the protagonist has mellowed with age. By fluidity I mean though the story has two unrelated cases it never feels episodic.

The cases consist of a vigilante serial killer called Will and the murder of a man who was already dying of AIDS. Bot
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I did not have a great deal of spare time to devote to reading this 374-page book, and while I was enjoying parts of it I became impatient with the length of it because it did have two legitimately separate areas of inquiry that could have been split into two books. But then...Block has to tie a big Christmas bow around it in one of the sweetest imaginable endings and all is forgiven.
One focus: "Will of the People" pronouncements to OpEd writer that garners attention of all of NYC that leads to
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always a good read. Matt seems like a friend after all these books (ok, imaginary friend, but still).
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Everybody’s all grown up, and three plots don’t save it when the voice and the attitude are no more.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
SETTING: New York City
SERIES: #13 of 18
WHY: Matt Scudder is investigating 2 cases. The first focuses on a serial killer who is following the "will of the people" and killing those who clearly deserve it. The way this plays out is very interesting. The second involves a man dying of AIDS who is shot in the park while reading the paper. The dialog is excellent. However, there were too many digressions which didn't add to the plot and some rather lengthy lette
“Even The Wicked,” first published in 1997, is the thirteenth novel in the Scudder series and it has a bit of a different feel to it than some of the other Scudder books. This one is more polished and doesn’t feel

quite as gritty. Scudder, here, is not drinking his life away at bars and ginmills. And, he isn’t as focused on the AA meetings as he is in some of the earlier books. He has even left his hotel room and lives a life with some domestic bliss. In some ways, you wonder if this started as
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nls-audio

If you’re an attorney who defends the indefensible, and if there’s a serial killer out there who takes pride in doing the “will of the people,” by murdering the dregs of society, you’re probably pretty worried. New York city is in the grip of just such a serial killer as this book opens. Will, as he is known, writes letters to a newspaper columnist in which he announces his next kill. And by the time the lawyer calls his work associate, Matthew Scudder, to ask for help, the lawyer is among those
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Wasn’t one of my favourites in the series but I loved the ending.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Matt Scudder is one of my favorite characters. Lawrence Block always tells a great story.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Scudder in his thirteenth novel, he is now in his fifties and happily married with his Eileen when he gets asked by a lawyer how he can be protected by the cities apparent moral knight. This character seems to be a response to the injustice that is experienced by the people of New York when certain persons cannot be punished simply because there are no grounds or evidence to convict. Only this time the target of the proclaimed "Will of the people" communicates his intentions and targets ...more
Jill Manske
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Even the Wicked" is about a serial killer who sends letters to a New York City newspaper columnist, announcing who he's going to kill next. Since Block wrote the book in the mid-1990's, the police didn't have today's access to digital records, making hunting down the killer even more difficult. Private detective Matthew Scudder is hired by Adrian Whitfield, the latest named victim, to identity the killer before he can kill Whitfield. Scudder is also enticed into investigating the murder of an A ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Matt Scudder is my least favorite of Block's ongoing series. This book explains why. It's a really slow, meandering story that winds up being the most boring reign of terror ever. A vigilante killer starts by killing a pedophile and claiming credit in the paper. Then he goes on to kill a mob boss and some other guys. Scudder does nothing much more than read about it in the paper because, "Meh. The cops got this." Even after a friend of his dies, he still doesn't really want to get involved. Inst ...more
May 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Typical well-crafted work from Lawrence Block. Complicated, often witty, with many twists in its event-filled plot. Matthew Scudder is always at least one step ahead of me, but this time he didn't entirely play fair, revealing (when he declared the murderer) information that he hadn't told me he'd collected. Still, a very entertaining page-turner. With the added bonus that through it's title and epigraph it introduced me to a wonderful quote from a novel by Willa Cather: "Even the wicked get wor ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the main plotline in this story. The Will of the People was a fascinating character. When this storyline was finished I felt that everything made sense and I enjoyed the resolution. The other storylines flowing through the book were a little disappointing. The circumstances surrounding Byron Leopold's murder were fascinating, but the resolution of the case was ridiculous. The first case and the circumstances behind the second case made me round my 3.5 star rating to a 4 star. Plus, I jus ...more
Tom Swift
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lawrence Block is my "go to" for detective stories. The Matthew Scudder series is great. I have been reading a lot of heavy stuff lately, so a fun read for a Saturday night!
Wyckliffe Howland
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun - clever. "The Will of the People" calling for wrongs to be righted - vigilante style.
A few of New York City's most prominent reprobates become the targets of a killer who calls himself "The Will of the People." Will sends letters to a vulgar newspapers columnist who then publishes and writes about the reasons why these creeps should be eliminated. This provides the why in addition to the who for the folks of NYC to read in their daily paper. What's transfixing about these murders is how they are committed. It seems very unlikely that one person could pull off these crimes in suc ...more
Pamela Mclaren
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I ove Lawrence Block! His characters are the kind of people I would like to meet. No drama but smart, considerate people. That would be one excellent way to describe Matthew Scudder, a former alcoholic ex-policeman who acts sort of like a private eye but what he is really doing is figure out why people act the way they do. And in this case, he has a doozy of a circumstance.

Because there is a person who has called themselves "Will of the People," and decided to take out three people he believes
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a book and mentally start seeing similarities to other books you're read? I have never read Lawrence Block before, but this is the 13th book in the Matthew Scudder series. It was a good book, involving a retired police officer who is now a private investigator. He's trying to track down a serial killer, and the police are stumped. His sidekick is a street-wise young man named TJ, who can go from talking hood to prim-and-proper with every other word.
How can I not see the simila
Matty Esco
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Scudder meets the Punisher. And you know? The Punisher, as always, is a pretty valuable asset and good guy. Unfortunately, this particular Punisher has an encoded expiration date, and he beats it to the punch. Copycats show up, and one, an emotionally stunted, boorish editorial columnist (I shudder to think how the real-life dude Block knows, because he definitely does, feels about having this irredeemable creep based on him) takes the dance all the way to a sloppy, embarrassing, premature compl ...more
Brian Andrews
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Unlucky #13?

Having burned through the first 12 books in the series (seriously, in around a month), Block finally disappoints. He had two interesting ideas / plots that weren't actually intertwined. For just the second time I guessed the whodunnit early in the novel. Missing was the crisp dialogue and character development that had me eagerly reading each of the first twelve books.

Elaine, DJ and Mick need more attention. Scudder, as is his nature, just doggedly went through the paces and eventual
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, usa, fiction
Scudder takes on two cases in this novel, investigating a vigilante killer who calls himself "Will of the People", and the case of a terminally ill man shot to death whilst sitting on a park bench, in an apparently random attack. Personally I found the plot of the vigilante thread a little contrived. By contrast I thought the second thread was very well put together. Not the best of the Scudder series but still a perfectly decent read from a consistently high quality series.
Jamie Hicks
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Lawrence Block book is like aged liquor. Equal parts grit and sophistication. Matt Scudder is a classic alcoholic night owl private detective. In today's world of craft beer and kale it's refreshing to follow a character with character around. The world needs more of it. A Matt Scudder novel is more about the man than the story. The story is just another building block of Matt's view of the world. When you read Scudder you become Scudder. And that's refreshing.
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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

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)
“Wasn’t it Will Rogers who said he never met a man he didn’t like?” “Whoever it was, I’d say he didn’t get out much.” 0 likes
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