Facing his demons in his first year of sobriety, Matthew Scudder finds himself on the trail of a killer. When Scudder's childhood friend Jack Ellery is murdered, presumably while attempting to atone for past sins, Scudder reluctantly begins his own investigation, with just one lead: Ellery's Alcoholics Anonymous list of people he wronged. One of them may be a killer, but that's not necessarily Scudder's greatest danger. Immersing himself in Ellery's world may lead him right back to the bar stool.
In a novel widely celebrated by critics and readers, Lawrence Block circle back to how it all began, reestablishing the Matthew Scudder series as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction.
"Right up there with Mr. Block's best . . . A Drop of Hard Stuff keeps us guessing." -- Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
MWA Grand Master Block's powerful 17th novel featuring PI Matthew Scudder (after 2005's All the Flowers Were Dying) explores the challenges of an alcoholic attempting to atone for his past misdeeds. In 1970 or '71, Scudder, then a Manhattan NYPD detective, recognizes a guy he knew in grade school in the Bronx, Jack Ellery, in a police lineup to identify a robber. The victim picks someone else as the man who held her up at gunpoint, though Ellery's the guilty party. Years later, after Scudder has left the force, he meets Ellery, now an ex-con, at an AA meeting, where Ellery is trying to take the ninth step making amends to all the people he'd harmed. Scudder's efforts to solve the murder that results from Ellery's quest for absolution place his own sobriety and life at risk. Block's pitch-perfect prose bolsters the elegiac plot. Accessible to first-timers, this book should add many more fans to the author's considerable following.
A Drop of the Hard Stuff
Have almost all of Block's books. Wouldn't recommend this one unless someone needs info on AA meetings in NYC.