12. A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block

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12. A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block  Empty 12. A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block

Post  wmeisel on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:08 pm

What is this, you say? Fiction?

Lawrence Block is one of the few mystery writers who I read. This is another one of his Matt Scudder novels. At this point in his life, Scudder is an ex-alcoholic who spends his days attending AA meetings and solving mysteries as a private detective in New York City. In this novel, a fellow AA member gets killed while doing "amends", and his sponsor hires Matt to try to find out if any of the people to whom the guy was making amends killed him.

Part of the enjoyment of these books is the inside look at AA. I, myself, am a bit of a skeptic as far as AA is concerned; it doesn't have a very good track record of success in clinical studies. But, it seems to work for Matt and his sponsor often gives him very good advice. The AA parts of the book always read as extremely genuine. (And I captured this gem of AA knowledge:
HALT -- Never get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired -- it's supposed to be advice to help prevent you from drinking, but it strikes me as good advice period.)

The actual mystery in this book is almost downplayed; there aren't enough clues for you to figure out who "did it" before Scudder does (at least, there weren't for me.) But, I still enjoyed it. The book has a deeper quality if you have read the previous books in the series, but enough information is provided to update you if you haven't.


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