A Walk Among the Tombstones

A Walk Among the Tombstones

by Lawrence Block

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 ruthly sadistic psycopaths whose insanely cruel games have only just begun...

  • Series: Matthew Scudder
  • Language: English
  • Category: Mystery
  • Rating: 3.93
  • Pages: 339
  • Publish Date: December 7th 2000 by Orion
  • Isbn10: 0752837486
  • Isbn13: 9780752837482

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Kenan followed instructions and paid a large ransom without contacting the cops, but Francine still got choppity-chopped and sent home like pork cutlets. Since he cant go to the cops without a lot of awkward questions, Kenan hires Matt Scudder to try and find the men who killed his wife. The early books in this series always had intriguing mysteries, but Id forgotten about the string of truly despicable villains that Block created and threw at Matt along the way. Kenan is a drug dealer, but hes also a very stand-up guy in his own way and Matt once again finds himself forming an unlikely friendship with someone that hed normally expect to disapprove of.

Khoury feels he cannot go to the police, and he want Scudder to track down the murderers and deliver them into his hands.

I'd already watched the movie "A Walk Among the Tombstones" not knowing it was based on the book of the same title by well known American author Lawrence Block. I'd happily read more by Lawrence Block, this book is apparently number ten in the Matthew Scudder series so there's many more to read and I'd certainly recommend "A Walk Among the Tombstones" both the book and the film.

finished all 16 matt scudder books (+1 short story collection). 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. my breakdown: The Sins of the Fathers - *** In the Midst of Death - ** Time to Murder and Create - *** A Stab in the Dark - *** 1/2 Eight Million Ways to Die - *** 3/4 When the Sacred Ginmill Closes - **** Out on the Cutting Edge - *** 1/2 A Ticket to the Boneyard - *** 3/4 A Dance at the Slaughterhouse - **** A Walk Among the Tombstones - **** The Devil Knows You're Dead - **** A Long Line of Dead Men - **** Even the Wicked - *** 1/2 Everybody Dies - *** Hope to Die - ** All the Flowers Are Dying - ** A Drop of the Hard Stuff - *** 1/2 The Night and the Music - ****

The drug dealer hires Matthew Scudder to find the men for him. As the series goes by, Matthew Scudder goes up against sicker and sicker foes and gets put into worse and worse situations.

I normally read one about every four months or so, working my way back through the series in order. But I'd only just worked my way back to the beginning of the series when, suddenly, the release of the movie based on A Walk Among the Tombstones was imminent. I've studiously avoided seeing the film adaptation of Eight Million Ways to Die, in which Jeff Bridges played Scudder and in which the plot was transferred to L.A., which as any fan of the series could tell you is beyond sacrilegious to the power of about ten. After spending so much time with these books, I have my own very fixed ideas about all the characters, Scudder in particular, and about the setting. I like Liam Neeson, and he's probably about as close to my idea of Scudder physically as any actor could be.

A Walk Among the Tombstones is Lawrence Block's tenth Matthew Scudder book, first published in 1992. Its twice as long as a few in the series I lovedit drags in the middle, it follows a pattern he sets in the last two books of crimes against women I think are too grisly/sensational for me, but much of it is really well written, and the scenes leading up to and "among the tombstones" is really, really well done. You can't live a life of crime or a life of catching criminals without being tainted: *Matthew Scudder accidentally killed a little girl when he was a detective; he quit the force, where he was sometimes on the take, with small bribes and the like; he wasn't the worst guy, but he wasn't a saint; he quit his marriage and never sees his sons, but tithes at churches, gives money to the homeless, and takes cases almost exclusively about the murder of young women as part of the expiation for his sins. Hes smart, thoughtful and a good storyteller, for a gangster (but hey, this is Block's point; don't stereotype, even gangsters)! *Scudder hires a 15-year-old street kid, TJ, who is my hands down favorite character in this book: Then I thought, if this heres a movie, what I do is slip in the back an hunker down tween the front an back seats. What I find interesting in this book is the way the characters make sense of their lives by telling stories; in AA, in the bar, driving around, they need to tell stories. I dont like the level of grisly violence that happens near the end, its seems completely unnecessary and sickening, but I love the final sweet scene with Scudder and Elaine.

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 character subtlety missing--it feel a little like--deep breath --Block might be phoning it in. I think Block's strength in prior books was the sweet blend of characterization with gritty mystery. Block keeps it from going quite that far, partly through Scudder's own ability to mock himself. Scenes with TJ and Elaine are where my favorite bits of dialogue show up. They two different languages, man, and you talkin' to a cat's bilingual." Where Block seems to have concentrated his subtle awesomeness is in the characterization of his client(s), a drug moving middleman and his alcoholic-in-recovery brother. I also felt like some of Scudder's personal story was tacked on at the end, rather than growing organically through the book.

Distraught over his wifes murder and unable to reach out to the police, Kenan turns to his brother Peter who suggests bringing in Matt Scudder, a man Peter met while at an AA meeting. Matt knows that what happened to Kenan and his wife was undoubtedly wrong but helping a drug dealer achieve vengeance against those responsible wouldnt exactly fall in line with the Matt Scudder who worked for the NYPD. Kenan immediately cremated his wife after her murder so theres no longer a corpse, theres no witness who can verify the abduction taking place and because of points one and two, there isnt a great starting point for Scudder. Theres no set date for release other than "2014" but Im hoping itll be received better than the last time Scudder hit Hollywood in the 1986 adaptation of Eight Million Ways to Die. I have a hard time seeing Neeson as Scudder but Im sure someone knows what theyre doing.

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.

He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories. The first time Lawrence Blocks name appeared in print was when his short story You Cant Lose was published in the February 1958 issue of Manhunt. The first book published under his own name was Mona (1961); it was reissued several times over the years, once as Sweet Slow Death. Hes also been honored with the Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award from Mystery Ink magazine and the Edward D.