Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer


Lawrence Block is one of those authors I’ve been reading practically all my life. At least, the parts of it when I was grown and wanting my world to be bigger than that small town I grew up in.

Unlicensed private eye and recovering alcoholic Matt Scudder is one of those formative blocks (yeah, insert pun) during the days when I was looking at the world and at characters in the detective field. Scudder is a flawed and damaged hero, a man who can never recover from what he’s suffered through, but one who fights for redemption on a daily basis.

Earlier this year, Block’s latest Scudder novel, A Drop of the Hard Stuff, came out and took readers back to the early days in Scudder’s life. I loved being there.

The Night and the Music is a mixed bag, though. The anthology collects the various novellas published in the Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazines as well as other places. The last story in this collection hasn’t even been printed before and is offered as a bookend to the series. Maybe. If so, I’m happy with it.

Only a few of the stories are actual mysteries. Some of the others are vignettes and slices of Scudder’s life that are entertaining, but not so much for a reader looking purely for a mystery read. I enjoyed them because it’s Scudder, and I find all things Scudder interesting and insightful.

The writing is lyrical and easy to get into, and Scudder is a great guide to New York City. It’s kind of cool watching the city age and change as Scudder does the same in these pages. Almost an encapsulated New York City as well as history of the hero. And yet, so many things have changed in Scudder’s life. Many writers tend to keep their heroes the same, and I’m all in favor of that as well – depending on the character, but I like a few that grow along with me. Scudder has done exactly that.

The anthology offers a fantastic selection of Scudder and Block, but it reads like you’ve just sat down across from a favorite close friend and said, “Remember when…”

4 Responses to “THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC by Lawrence Block”

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