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The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1)
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Group Reads > January 2013 - The Sins of the Fathers

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message 1: by Michael, Anti-Hero (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) | 279 comments Mod
First book of the year, a classic Lawrence Block hard-boiled novel with The Sins of the Fathers


message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I've never read any Lawrence Block and look forward to trying this one.


Stephen (spg-) | 40 comments Think everyone will enjoy this - I read it in Dec and have since got copies of books 2,3 and 4 and am going to try and tackle all 17 in the series this year. Gave it 5 stars but will wait til others have read it before joining in the discussion.


Mike | 67 comments I've really been looking forward to this one! I've been following the Scudder series for about 30-years. The first hard-boiled novel I can remember reading as a teen was Lawrence Block's Eight Million Ways to Die


Bobbi (blafferty) | 76 comments I tried to wait until January, I really did, but with all the raving about this series going on in the group, I just couldn't. I also read the second and the third is in the wings, but I'm trying to pace myself and make the series last.


Franky | 394 comments Just got it on my Kindle for $4. I started reading the first chapter and really like it so far. Once I finish a few other books, I'll dig into this one.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I thought I would join in on this one. Been meaning to read another Lawrence Block book. The only one I read was A Walk Among The Tombstones. I enjoyed that book. I saw 8 Million Ways to Die And Enjoyed the movie as well.
Read the first chapter. So far so good.


message 8: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Glasser | 58 comments My library only has it as a book on CD so who knows if I'll be able to get into it in the same way.


Dennis | 35 comments My library has the book on cd so I will pick it up tomorrow. Ive only read his Edgar award winning Scudder novel A Dance At The Slaughterhouse and thought it was excellent! Looking forward to this.


Craig | 22 comments I just finished reading it last night. Ready to discuss. This was my second reading, the first being in 1999.


Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) I almost never re-read and specially not a book i read only 2-3 years ago. Still i look forward reading this again since its the only Scudder book of the first 9 i have read that i wasnt impressed by when i read it.


Chris | 17 comments Looking forward to starting this! Happy New Year all!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Just finished reading this book. I'll join in on any discussions.


Cyndi (bookchick64) | 54 comments I just started! The Stephen King intro is quite cool. Mr. King sounds so young in his enthusiasm. Looking forward to the novel.


Cyndi (bookchick64) | 54 comments Is anyone else seeing this as "a Quinn Martin Production" in 4 acts? It's so smooth/seamless, and well done that I see it as a TV show.


message 16: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike | 67 comments Cyndi wrote: "Is anyone else seeing this as "a Quinn Martin Production" in 4 acts? It's so smooth/seamless, and well done that I see it as a TV show."

Funny you should say that, I always pictured Matthew Scudder as being a lot like the main character in the old series 'Harry O' starring David Janssen as former cop Harry Orwell.

There are a few similarities but it's possibly (probably) because I have a great fondness for both characters that I see them as being alike.


message 17: by Cyndi (last edited Jan 07, 2013 01:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cyndi (bookchick64) | 54 comments Mike wrote: "Cyndi wrote: "Is anyone else seeing this as "a Quinn Martin Production" in 4 acts? It's so smooth/seamless, and well done that I see it as a TV show."

Funny you should say that, I always pictured..."


Mike, good call on Harry O. I am in agreement :). Just finished this novel and now I want more Matt Scudder. This was a good taste, now I want more.

I can see why anyone would develop a fondness. I can imagine that the stories only get better.


Dennis | 35 comments Gawd! I remember David Janssen as Richard Diamond : private detective.


Chris | 17 comments Finished this last night. I liked it - I wish Scudder was a little more multi-dimensional as he felt a little cliche in terms of his background - i.e., ex-cop, big drinker, etc., as well as his investigation. However, I really did like the book a lot and will definitely read more of Block.


message 20: by Michael, Anti-Hero (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) | 279 comments Mod
I enjoyed this book so much that I went right on and read In the Midst of Death


message 21: by Mohammed (last edited Jan 11, 2013 09:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) Chris wrote: "Finished this last night. I liked it - I wish Scudder was a little more multi-dimensional as he felt a little cliche in terms of his background - i.e., ex-cop, big drinker, etc., as well as his in..."

Heh keep reading, Matt's story stops being stereotype ex cop Pi series pretty fast. The first book Matt is overly simply character compared to Scudder in the next books. The first book didnt make me suspect I would come to rate the series as the best Pi novel series.


message 22: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
That was a fast read. I was torn between 3 and 4 stars, then settled on 4. I thought it was a little predictable, and the description of the actual murder and its immediate aftermath seemed a little far-fetched - (view spoiler)
On the plus side, I did like Scudder and plan to read more in this series.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

In the beginning, I thought the book was just a police procedural and it didn't hold my attention due to a lack of suspense. I thought Block came back at the end. I went with 3 stars but I would still read the next book.


message 24: by Ty (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ty Wilson (ShatterStar66) | 8 comments I thought it was a quick, enjoyable read and a nice introduction to Scudder. It really took me back to the 70's. I look forward to reading more in this series and seeing how Scudder develops.


Sebastian | 2 comments Just finished it, ended up with mixed feelings and gave it 3 stars. Here is my review


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Sebastian wrote: "Just finished it, ended up with mixed feelings and gave it 3 stars. Here is my review "

Felt the same way.


message 27: by Mike (last edited Jan 13, 2013 10:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike | 67 comments Chris wrote: "Finished this last night. I liked it - I wish Scudder was a little more multi-dimensional as he felt a little cliche in terms of his background - i.e., ex-cop, big drinker, etc., as well as his in..."

Sebastian wrote: "Just finished it, ended up with mixed feelings and gave it 3 stars. Here is my review "

I have a hard time judging this first one on its own merit since I have such a long connection with the series. I'm not sure if I would have been such an avid follower of Matthew Scudder novels if I had only read the first one or two in the series or even if the series had stayed the same way all throughout the entire run.

The series really begins to hit its stride around book #4 A Stab in the Dark and then takes off in #5 Eight Million Ways to Die (although #5 does have a little of that plot inertia where the case sort of goes on hold for a time) when the author starts to expand on the idea of both the city itself and Scudder's flaws as something like companions or sidekicks of sorts to Matthew Scudder. The series hits its peak in the next five or six books which are (arguably) the best in the series.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Alberto wrote: "Mike wrote: "The series really begins to hit its stride around book #4 A Stab in the Dark and then takes off in #5 Eight Million Ways to Die (although #5 does have a little of that plot inertia whe..."
Good to know. I'll check out the other books.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I think I will compare Block to another author that I believe was similar to the Scudder character. It's Carter Brown. He wrote about two detectives - Danny Boyd and Rick Holman. His books are less than 150 pages.


message 30: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments Ronhummer wrote: "I think I will compare Block to another author that I believe was similar to the Scudder character. It's Carter Brown. He wrote about two detectives - Danny Boyd and Rick Holman. His books are l..."

Interesting, I've read only the one Carter Brown book so far but never really considered him in the same league as someone like Block. He's Australian and pulled the same trick as James Hadley Chase in writing novels set in America without ever going there apparently. The one I read was a pretty flimsy concept but enjoyable all the same.

But then I'm currently of the opinion that Lawrence Block can do no wrong and have to resist reading all of his books in one go. I'll definitely say that this series has gotten better over the four books I've read so far but strangely I'm having trouble tracking down Eight Million Ways To Die despite it having been the movie.

The first four have been building up to something major as far as I can tell and Kemper has informed me that this is the moment when Scudder finds himself out of his depth. Can't wait.


message 31: by Mike (last edited Jan 16, 2013 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike | 67 comments Lawrence Block originally intended for Eight Million Ways to Die to be the end of the Matthew Scudder series so it ends up being very much a transitional point. The books before and the books after are almost like two different series, or maybe a better example would be that they're kind of like different seasons of a TV series where the focus has shifted.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Tfitoby wrote: "Ronhummer wrote: "I think I will compare Block to another author that I believe was similar to the Scudder character. It's Carter Brown. He wrote about two detectives - Danny Boyd and Rick Holman..."
I would say that Block is better than Carter Brown. In any case, I'd like to read more of his books.


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) Great fun to see the first Matt Scudder as Pulp Fiction's read in January, 2013. Another group member steered me in Block's direction. If anyone's interested, here's my review from August, 2012: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Craig | 22 comments I would compare the Scudder books instead to Parker's Spenser books. And, I think, they compare quite favorably.


message 35: by Mohammed (last edited Jan 15, 2013 02:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) Parker's Spenser books sound More like typical PI stories to me. Do they have social problems, deal with the inside,mental world of the PI hero like Scudder?

I dont read Scudder for PI work,caes but just for atmosphere and the way Scudder looks at social ill of his time,place.. Im glad Block dosent focus on the cases.

Is Spenser books like that? I dont want a want to read just a modern Spade/Marlowe PI books.


message 36: by Ctgt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ctgt | 110 comments I agree Mohammed. I loved the first two Scudder books because the case wasn't the primary focus. Block was gradually revealing the character of Scudder and that is what I found fascinating.


Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) Ctgt wrote: "I agree Mohammed. I loved the first two Scudder books because the case wasn't the primary focus. Block was gradually revealing the character of Scudder and that is what I found fascinating."

The only series i enjoy right now for similar reasons as Scudder is Nate Haller series by Max Allan Collins . Both are long series i must catch up to before i even look at other PI series.


Bobbi (blafferty) | 76 comments Tfitoby wrote: "Ronhummer wrote: "I think I will compare Block to another author that I believe was similar to the Scudder character. It's Carter Brown. He wrote about two detectives - Danny Boyd and Rick Holman..."

I made a deal with myself that I had to finish at least one other book in between the Scudder books. I'm happy to say I found #4, #5, and #6 at a dusty, cluttered used book shop, but they are really burning a hole in my bookshelf.


message 39: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments Bobbi wrote: "Tfitoby wrote: "Ronhummer wrote: "I think I will compare Block to another author that I believe was similar to the Scudder character. It's Carter Brown. He wrote about two detectives - Danny Boyd..."

Ha! I had almost a full set with only #5 and a later one missing. I ended up having to order it because I couldn't wait any longer.


message 40: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike | 67 comments Alberto wrote: "For those who plan to keep on reading the Scudder books, it seems there's some confusion with the order of the first three books in the series. I read someplaces In The Mist Of Death is second and ..."

Lawrence Block lists them that way on his site (The Sins of The Fathers #1, Time To Murder and Create #2, In The Midst of Death #3) and most later publications have them in that order but if you find an older printing then they will have them listed in order of publication.

With the first three they can be read in any order without any real issue (actually most of them can but they're much better in order) once you get to #4 A Stab in the Dark that's when things start to change a little and it makes a difference -- in terms of where the character of Matthew Scudder will be at in his life -- if you read them out of order. After that is when the character began to really experience a lot of change and start to age in something akin to real time.


Paul  Perry (pezski) | 24 comments Block is an author I wasn't familiar with (to be honest, I'm not that familiar with crime fiction outside of the classics - Hammett, Chandler, Doyle, etc.

So glad I decided to go with the group read. I thought the pacing and plot were excellent, the updated noir worked wonderfully but the real mastery is Block's use of character voice; I found that I could visualise every single character as I read their dialogue (while I sometimes felt Martin Vanderpoel strayed slightly into parody, that;s probably more to do with my being brought up on British TV comedy vicars, which meant I kept picturing him as Dick Emery).

The other thing that really impressed me is moral standpoint. Hard-boiled detectives are often quite strictly moral in their own terms (such as Philip Marlowe and Hammett's Continental Op) but often tend toward a bit of a reactionary world view, and some of the later pulp detectives are positively anti-heroic in this respect. Scudder is comfortable - even happy - with the corruption of the system and threatening and using violence at the drop of a hat, but seems to judge people in terms of the harm they are doing to themselves and others. The point that stand out in this for me is when he says he thinks that Wendy was in control of her life and was on course to sort herself out, had she not been killed, rather than 'just a whore' or a 'rich girl gone bad', especially counterpointed with Vanderpoel's vicious hypocrisy.


Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) Paul you describe well the different sides to Scudder himself that makes this series so great,different than most PI series. The other books show even more of these different sides of Matt.

I rated this book 3 stars first time i read and i wasnt too convinced of the mystery plot but Matt himself captured me fully.


message 43: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike | 67 comments Paul 'Pezski' wrote: "Scudder is comfortable - even happy - with the corruption of the system and threatening and using violence at the drop of a hat, but seems to judge people in terms of the harm they are doing to themselves and others. The point that stand out in this for me is when he says he thinks that Wendy was in control of her life and was on course to sort herself out, had she not been killed, rather than 'just a whore' or a 'rich girl gone bad', especially counterpointed with Vanderpoel's vicious hypocrisy. "

Very insightful observations. I'm not sure I've ever heard it put in quite those terms, but they certainly apply.


message 44: by Joe (new)

Joe | 2 comments A real page turner- read it in one night. Definitely want to read some more with Scudder in it. Great read in this mystery genre.


message 45: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
What did you think of Scudder's treatment of the mugger?
Was the (view spoiler) too much?


message 46: by Paul (last edited Jan 21, 2013 03:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 24 comments Melki wrote: "What did you think of Scudder's treatment of the mugger?
Was the [spoilers removed] too much?"


It seems to fit with what I said of him before, that he is easy with violence (even the deliberate inflicting of pain), but he is using it as a means to scare the kid away from a life of crime, and that he felt it was proportionate. That said, I have no doubt he could callously shoot someone in the kneecaps as a warning. I look forward to seeing more about hos moral stance in further book sin the series.

@Mohammed a Mike, thanks for you comments, btw.


message 47: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments Melki wrote: "What did you think of Scudder's treatment of the mugger?
Was the [spoilers removed] too much?"


I haven't found anything in the Scudder books to be too much so far. As Paul says about his character, it's an important part of his character and it's a good way to establish that fact early on. If he'd shot him in the face on the other hand....


Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) Melki wrote: "What did you think of Scudder's treatment of the mugger?
Was the [spoilers removed] too much?"


I had no trouble because it seemed natural for the man he is, the trouble he has. Easy to violence is expected from an ex- cop with alot of negative bagage, failed life as husband, father.


message 49: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
He also scared the kid away from a career as a typist or a cashier. Maybe that's a good thing.


message 50: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments Melki wrote: "He also scared the kid away from a career as a typist or a cashier. Maybe that's a good thing."

I wish somebody had scared me away from a career as a cashier...


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