Book: Lawrence Block “A Stab in the Dark” (Matthew Scudder 4)

September 29, 2017

So I’m working through the Matthew Scudder series by Lawrence Block.  With some authors I read everything they publish in published order, other times I follow a single chracter and don’t care much if the author has other characters in his playbook.  That’s the approach here.  The Matthew Scudder novels so far are ok, I’m not enjoying the character as much as Harry Bosch or say Jack Reacher because there isn’t as much unraveling of the investigation.  But so far they are interesting enough to keep me working through the series.

bookIn this book the father of a murder victim Barbara Ettinger comes to Matt Scudder for help.  His daughter was the victim of ice-pick wielding serial killer who murdered 8 women nine years ago and was never caught.  Until now when recently released from a mental institution he is randomly picked up for carrying an ice pick and freely admits to the murders carried out nine years previously.  However, he only claims 7 murders and was locked up at the time of Barbara Ettinger‘s murder.  So the father who has come to terms with his daughter having been murdered by a serial killer has now to face the fact that someone she knew may have killed her and used the ice-pick murders at the time to make it look like another serial killer victim.

Scudders, often drunken, investigation is facinating turning up new leads on a long cold case.  This was a positive page turner and showed a lot more facets to Scudder’s character than the previous novels.

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Book: Lawrence Block “Time to Murder and Create” (Matthew Scudder 3)

September 29, 2017

Small-time crook known as “The Spinner” leaves an envelope with Matt Scudder only to be opened if he is killed.  He is then killed.

bookThe contents of the envelope is the blackmail material Spinner has on three people.   Believing one of these individuals was pushed too far he just has to figure out which one and let the others off the hook.

Matthew Scudder is both a complex and simple character with a clear moral code that drives through everything.


Book: Lawrence Block “In the Midst of Death” (Matthew Scudder 2)

September 8, 2017

In this story a cop who is in hiding because he is reveling corruption in the Department is accused by a prostitute of being on the take himself.  He turns to Scudder for help because no one in the department would be willing to help.

It turns out he isn’t clean at all, the prostitute is being guided by someone else and there is a web of corruption that quickly turns to multiple murders…  Scudder drinks his way around the investigation and gradually makes sense of what is going on.


Book: Michael Connelly “The Wrong Side of Goodbye”

August 20, 2017

I first met the Harry Bosch character when Amazon made the first season of ‘Bosch’ in 2014.  Being a reader I quickly read the entire back catalogue of Michael Connelly’s work from The Black Echo (1994) through to The Crossing (2016) which took me a little over a year (May 2015-2016).  So this is the first time since then that I have returned to this character, and it’s good to be back with an old friend.

Harry is now a private investigator and volunteers with San Fernando PD to clear their cold cases.  The book opens with a classic PI plot of a dying billionaire, full of regrest, asking Bosch to find any possible heir to his fortune.  As a young man he had an affair with a Mexican girl who then disappeared (possibly paid off by his father to do so).  Did she have a child from their affair, and if so what happened to the child?

Meanwhile in his work for the small San Fernando PD, Bosch has uncovered a link between several rape cases and is looking for more evidence to trace this before the man strikes again.  These two stories develop in parallel through the book with the usual detail that Connelly excels at, bringing to life the slow pace of investigation even when it is simply looking up records in archives.

Really good to be reading about Bosch again and a fascinating story.


Book: Nelson DeMille “The Lion”

August 4, 2017

Following the John Corey series finds the former NYPD homicide detective and now a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force, facing “The Lion” again.

The Lion has returned to America to finish what he started three years previously (Night Fall) and to kill Corey and his partner (now wife) Kate Mayfield.  Well, that’s about it really – the terrorist is doing terrorist stuff and John Corey is doing ‘rogue cop’ stuff.  The story unfolds fast enough and with some twists and turns but again I find DeMille repeats and goes over the key facts just far too many times.


Book: Nelson DeMille “Wild Fire”

July 19, 2017

Fourth Nelson DeMille novel in the John Corey series (following Plumb Island, The Lion’s Game, Night Fall) sees John  and his wife, FBI Agent Kate Mayfield gong under the radar to investigate a missing colleague that takes them to the exclusive Custer Hill Club and a plot to detonate nuclear devices in American cities to trigger a response…

I find DeMille’s style frustrating, he takes a really long time to tell the story that feels as if he has done a lot of background research and can’t resist telling the reader all the irrelevant details.  However, the main character is very funny and engaging.  I’ve seen a review compare the John Corey character to Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H. “hilarious as a fictional character, but you’d probably hate him if you had to deal with him in person.”

So this was an enjoyable read, not as fast paced as it could have been but kept me interested right to the end.


Cycling: Tearfund Drumlanrig Challenge

April 29, 2017

29th April and our 2nd Sportive of the year (following last month’s No Excuses Falkirk ), first of all the stats:

  • Distance: 57 miles
  • Moving time: 4:42
  • Total Time: 5:21
  • Elevation: 3040 ft
  • Average Speed: 12.2 mph
  • Max Speed: 30 mph