Hope to Die

Hope to Die by Lawrence Block

Hope to Die by Lawrence Block

When a married couple is found brutally murdered in their own home, the two scum bags thought responsible are found dead in their own apartment of an apparent murder suicide.  While the NYPD feels confident in closing the case, the niece of the deceased does not.  She mentions this in passing to TJ who in turn brings it to Scudder’s attention and it isn’t long before the three are sitting down in a diner trading theories.  While there’s a definite lack of proof, Scudder feels her concerns are valid enough to warrant turning over a few rocks.

As the investigation intensifies, Scudder comes to believe a third man was involved.  Can Scudder and TJ track down this mystery man and stop him from killing again?

The preceding novel Everybody Dies was a landmark instalment in Block’s tremendous Scudder series.  Both the character development and the brutality of the action will stick with me for years.  I’m not sure if I was suffering from some sort of Scudder hangover but Hope to Die, while an intricately plotted and intriguing mystery, didn’t feel as memorable.

I’ve come to love Matt’s career criminal best friend Mick Ballou almost as much as Scudder himself and while he was central to Everybody Dies, he was seemingly relegated to a background character in Hope to Die.  I can hardly blame Block for that as I wouldn’t want Mick shoehorned into a story if Block felt he wasn’t needed as much, but I sure as hell missed him.

I also didn’t care too much for the chapters written from the perspective of the killer.  While I noted above that I loved the growth of Scudder’s supporting cast in Everybody Dies, the switching of narratives rarely sit well with me.  That being said, it certainly helped to establish that the man Scudder was hunting was mentally unhinged.  Unfortunately, it would often take me out of the story.

I only have TWO Scudder novels remaining (as well as a short story collection) and I’m pretty bummed about it.  One is a sequel (All The Flowers Are Dying) and one is a flashback story (A Drop of the Hard Stuff) and while I’m looking forward to reading them, I’m not looking forward to running out of new Scudder material.  Say it ain’t so!

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