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A Walk Among the Tombstones (Matthew Scudder #10)

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,517 Ratings  ·  364 Reviews
Big-time dope dealer Kenan Khoury is a wealthy man, and it comes as no surprise when his wife Francine is kidnapped and a ransom demanded. Kenan pays up and his wife is duly returned to him - in small pieces left in the boot of an abandoned car, leaving private eye Matt Scudder to speculate on the motives of a very unusual kidnapper. Soon he is on the trail of a pair of ru ...more
Paperback, 339 pages
Published December 7th 2000 by Orion (first published 1992)
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Tfitoby Having read the first 10 now I'd say you definitely get more if you watch the characters grow. There's a fantastic emotional arc for Scudder,…moreHaving read the first 10 now I'd say you definitely get more if you watch the characters grow. There's a fantastic emotional arc for Scudder, especially in the first 5 and if you read anything after book 9 before book 9 you'll miss out on what would otherwise be a rather shocking moment in the series. But if you just want to read the book before the movie go for it, as everybody else has said Block writes so well that you can just dip in and out if you choose to.(less)
Beth Gibson You would understand the back story, e.g., the background and relationships of Scudder and his friends, if you read them in order. But I personally…moreYou would understand the back story, e.g., the background and relationships of Scudder and his friends, if you read them in order. But I personally don't find it that critical. I haven't read them in order and haven't felt cheated in anyway.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kemper
Sep 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Right after finishing this book, I was at the grocery store with the wife. I was daydreaming while she got some meat from the butcher’s counter. She dropped a couple of wrapped steaks and hamburger in the cart. I ran screaming out of the store. So thanks for that, Lawrence Block.

Kenan Khoury is a heroin distributor whose wife Francine was kidnapped. Kenan followed instructions and paid a large ransom without contacting the cops, but Francine still got choppity-chopped and sent home like pork cut
...more
Bill  Kerwin
May 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

As detective Scudder gets older, the books he stars in get longer, each entry filled with more Scudder reflections, more peripheral characters, more comic relief, and—page for page—less mystery. Yet this is the strange part : Scudder is still stoic, New York City and its denizens are still vivid and grim, and the later crimes—though they take fewer pages to develop—are even more compelling than before. This is something only a master of genre like Block can do can do: he fulfills the requirement
...more
brian
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
finished all 16 matt scudder books (+1 short story collection). that's like 5,000 pages. and now i'm kinda depressed. well, a few thoughts before i drown myself in ice cream sandwich and crap TV: ignore all the 3 and 4 star ratings with the knowledge that the series is a solid fiver. like simenon's novels, (the first 16 of) stark's parker books, PKD's mindfuckedpulperies, etc, it's a mosaic which equals more than the sum of its parts. forget elaborate mysteries and plot-stuck crime books -- that ...more
Dan Schwent
Mar 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
A gang of psychopaths kidnap, rape, torture, and murder a drug dealer's wife after getting a ransom from him. The drug dealer hires Matthew Scudder to find the men for him. But was this the only time the psychopaths have struck? And will they strike again...?

As the series goes by, Matthew Scudder goes up against sicker and sicker foes and gets put into worse and worse situations. Like usual, it makes the book a page turner because you can't wait to see him settle the bad guys's hash. The high po
...more
James Thane
For the last thirty years or so, I've been reading Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series which, for me at least, is hands down the best P.I. series that anyone's ever done. I mean no disrespect to authors like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, both of whom I admire greatly. But their body of work is relatively small by comparison. Block, on the other hand, created a fantastic character right out of the box, put him in a great, gritty setting, surrounded him with an excellent supporting ca ...more
Carol.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Block fans, mystery fans who like the wrong side of the law
Recommended to Carol. by: Kemper, Dan
Block opens the book with an "English lullaby" that is pretty much guaranteed to cause sleeplessness in any child listening. It might scare them quiet, however: "baby, baby if he hears you/As he gallops past the house/Limb from limb at once he'll tear you/Just as a pussy tears a mouse." A gruesome and fitting way to start off one of Scudder's more horrific cases.

A Walk is little more to the 3.5 area on the scudder scale of awesomeness. Scudder is back in usual form, but with some of the characte
...more
Brandon
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young lady is snatched by a pair of lowlifes and held for ransom. Her husband, drug dealer Kenan Khoury, is forced to cough up four hundred thousand for her safe return. Upon payment, her husband is told to collect her from the trunk of a car not far from his home. Hoping to reunite with his missing wife, Kenan finds her in less than desirable shape.

Distraught over his wife’s murder and unable to reach out to the police, Kenan turns to his brother Peter who suggests bringing in Matt Scudder, a
...more
Tfitoby
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-as-night
Block was really taking Matt Scudder to some dark places in the early 90s, as if a psychotic killer hell bent on revenge and a couple of evil snuff film makers weren't enough hell for one man to face whilst trying with all his might to stay away from the hard stuff he's now faced with some joy killers who abduct and dissect women in broad daylight. Luckily he has a great group of friends and a growing sense of "home" in a light place to counteract the dark. But surely there's only so much of the ...more
Anthony Vacca
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A Walk Among the Tombstones is a prime choice cut of detective fiction—heck, it’s maybe worth two or three or a whole car trunk full of packaged slices on ice of high quality writing. All the necessary tasty bits that make the Matthew Scudder novels so savory are on full display in this tenth entry into the series. Dialogue that sizzles, suspense that slow boils over the cooking pot, and characters as complex and heady as a carefully-prepared dish of steak tartare. This time around, Scudder take ...more
Mark
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the PI genre
Recommended to Mark by: The Lynskeys of this world
After having read the Keller series and having seen the movie with Liam Neeson I was kind of interested in reading the basis of the movie.

The book and the movie are actually pretty similar which makes me hope fora few more Scudder movies starring Neeson.

The story is basicly about a kidnapping gone horribly wrong from the viewpoint of the husband who receives after paying the ransom his wife back albeit in pieces.
It is the brother of the victims husband who finds Scudder due to their connection t
...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Showing at cinemas now, the movie version! I must go! This book was my introduction to Lawrence Block's writing and I am not left feeling let down one bit. What a fantastic novel that gripped me from the start and did not let go. Exceptional crime fiction with everything you would want.

What's the book about?

The dark thriller from crime fiction master Lawrence Block, soon to be a film starring Liam Neeson in September.

Big-time dope dealer Kenan Khoury is a wealthy man. One fine spring morning his
...more
Hester
So I keep seeing those commercials for the film adaptation of A Walk Among the Tombstones, the critics say it's scary, so I say to myself, I say "Hester you gotta read that" and of course I agree with myself. I wish I would have ignored me.

My first clue this book was not going to be that great is the fact that it's number 10 in a series, well I wasn't going to waste my time with books 1-9 but thought that I'd give it a try anyway. As a rule I'm not that fond of series, something about them gets
...more
Joe  Noir
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The essence of the private eye in fiction is that the individual detective works outside the system and can make the decision to dispense judgment as he sees fit, or not. To bring true “justice” when the authorities would not, or could not. Or, he can choose not to do so. The job could be simply following the instructions of the client, and securing their desired result; completing the task. Or, it could place the detective in such a position that his own personal code would be violated if he fa ...more
Larry
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the cops in "A Walk Among the Tombstones" notes that there is a new recreational class of crime--thrill killing--that seems to be on the rise. That kind of crime is at the heart of this book. Matt Scudder is approached by someone he knows through AA whose brother's wife was snatched off the street, held for ransom, and then returned in pieces. The husband, who makes his money as a high-end drug dealer, doesn't want to go to the cops, so he approaches Scudder. The husband makes it clear fr ...more
James Fitzgerald
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
After I started reading this Matthew Scudder mystery I realized that I know this story line in that I could tell what was going to happen next. so I put the book aside and started something else. but a Scudder books nags at your mind and you are trying to remember what happened and how it ended. so I broke away from Monkeewrench that I was reading and finished a walk among the tombstones you know what now I want to see the movie again to see how Liam Neeson does as Scudder. Enjoyed the book and ...more
Mary
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary mysteries
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
A stunningly resourceful brand of criminal has recently set up shop in the big city; an ingenious breed of human predators who victimize the loved ones of those who live outside the law. These sadistic extortionists have certainly chosen their victims wisely; knowing that criminals will never run to the police, no matter how brutal the threat. As a result, these vicious monsters have consistently been able to get away with their nefarious business.

On a Thursday morning in late March, Francine Kh
...more
Ty Wilson
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the 10th book in the Scudder series, a series that continues to get better and better. This time out Matthew Scudder finds himself called to the home of a drug trafficker, Kenan Khoury, who has just had his wife kidnapped. She was kidnapped, raped, killed, cut up into small pieces and returned to her husband, even though he paid them $400,000 for her safe return. Mr. Khoury's brother Peter knows Scudder from AA meetings, and he brings Scudder in to help find the kidnappers. Scudder attac ...more
L
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
The book opens with an English lullaby that can be summed up as: quit crying and carrying on, baby, or the monster will grab you, rip you limb from limb, and eat you. It's easy to forget how grim lullabies and nursery tales really were. Next, comes Block's book. And it is every bit as gruesome as the lullaby. Fortunately, Block does not linger over the gory details, so they're part of the story but without gratuitous violence. Great characters, some of whom bring more than is apparent at first g ...more
Crimmas
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great addition to the Scudder series, very engrossing and full of interesting characters. It's a slow boil, very well-researched, gritty and tight. Overall it's a great read and you can see how well Block has settled into Scudder's universe here.

The movie doesn't really do it much justice. Not a bad movie, well-shot, but extremely gentrified. The book is approachable for many people but the movie is aimed toward white men only.
Craig "NEEDS MORE DAMN TIME TO READ !!!!"
The overall premise drew me in but unfortunately I didn't enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. The start was great but towards the middle the story slowed, then it picked up, had a slightly lacklustre ending then fizzled out. I may be old fashioned but I do love a book with eventual realisation of villain, thrilling chases, confrontation and ass kicking of said villain and so on, shame really because the baddies in this where nasty guys, well at least on got an amusing send off :)
Merry
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thriller killer graphic gruesome, need I say more?... fast paced- perhaps a little too gruesome for my liking - but did give it a go - well written subject that was rather intense but it did keep my attention! -…. did I mention gruesome!!!
Ed
Oct 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another hard-boiled standout, though not the best, in the Matt Scudder series. His street-savvy African-American sidekick TJ plays a key role in solving the murder. Lots of NYC geography.
Ron
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read several other Matt Scudder novels and though I'm usually a stickler for reading a series in order, but the nice thing about this is that you don't have to have read the previous nine novels to understand and appreciate this one. Very dark and intense, bordering on horror.
The movie does a great job of capturing the spirit of the novel but leaves some of the gruesome details out, the local New York/Brooklyn color, plus the interesting bits on hacking the telephone system.
Lynn
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read. This was at turns gruesome, tender and nerve-wracking. Scudder evolves in each book and I'm happy to go along for the ride.
Piker7977
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
After his wife is brutally murdered, a drug runner hires unlicensed private detective Matt Scudder to track down the sick bastards who committed the act. The suspects blend well into New York City as they use a work truck/van to abduct their victims and then change the color and markings after the crime has been committed. They also have a tendency to leave the mutilated remains in cemeteries around town which makes for a ghastly calling card. Scudder has to pound the pavement and do what he doe ...more
Johnny
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Fans of Lawrence Block may be shocked that a person who enjoys reading mysteries would wait so long to read his work. I apparently had the author confused with Robert Bloch, another well-known author who work is (in my opinion) rather uneven. As a result, I had read a couple of short stories by the latter that I didn’t care for and had ignored the work of the former by mistake. When my brother gave me a box of mysteries that he enjoyed, it included several of the Matthew Scudder series (about an ...more
Ensiform
Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
A very gritty and black entry into the series of the former alkie but still unlicensed private eye. In this book, Scudder is hired by a drug dealer to find the sadistic spree killers who kidnapped and butchered his wife. With the help of his street connections, Scudder decides to mete out some more of the rough justice that is becoming his trademark. But lest he become a remorseless killing machine, Block allows Scudder to begin to craft some domestic bliss at the end of this saga.

It’s a fine re
...more
Tim Niland
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
Ex-NYPD policeman Matthew Scudder is an off the books private eye in New York City. An alcoholic staying sober one day at a time with the help of AA he takes jobs that most PI's won't touch or wouldn't be approached to do. When the wife of a big time drug smuggler is kidnapped in broad daylight, then murdered and dismembered, the dealer is unwilling to go to the police, but asks Scudder to look into what happened and find out who was responsible. He takes on the job with mixed feelings, but soon ...more
Rabha Almahdi
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hajer Elmahdi
يبداء كتاب المؤلف الامريكى "لورنس بلوك" بتهويدة مرعبة قد تطير النوم من اعينكم ومن ثم يبدأ فى سرد الرواية ... كنعان خورى تاجر المخدرات الذى يتم اختطاف زوجته من امام محل للبقالة ليتلقى اتصالا يطالبه بدفع فدية مقابل عودتها اليه ، الا انه بعد دفعه للفدية لم يستلم الا جثتها مقطعة وموضوعة فى اكياس بلاستيكية، ينصحه شقيقه بتوكيل "ماثيو سكدر" المحقق الخاص لاكتشاف من قام بهذه الجريمة البشعة وذلك بالطبع لعدم قدرة تاجر المخدرات على ادخال الشرطة الى حياته ... محققنا الذى يكافح للبقاء صاحيا وبعيدا عن الكحول ي ...more
AlTonya
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is NOT for the faint of heart! I had no idea it was book 10 of a series, but the author does an amazing job and the book can be read as a standalone. I'd love to go back and read the other titles in the series- Matthew Scudder is a pretty intriguing guy and a truly hard-nosed detective. Still, the book dealt with some pretty gruesome subject matter. It was, at times, rather hard to get through because of that. Additionally, I found that some of the conversations between the characters ...more
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Mysteries & Crime...: November read - A walk among the tombstones 22 60 Nov 19, 2014 01:34PM  
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  • Killing Castro (Hard Case Crime #51)
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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
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)
  • The Devil Knows You're Dead (Matthew Scudder, #11)

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“Come on in,” Elaine said. “She’s already here. Pam, this is Mr. Scudder, Matthew Scudder. Matt, I’d like you to meet Pam.” 2 likes
“It was still there, a low-grade fever in the blood, an itch somewhere down beneath the skin, where you couldn’t scratch it.” 2 likes
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