Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The Autobiography of Matthew Scudder

The Autobiography of Matthew ScudderThe Autobiography of Matthew Scudder by Lawrence Block
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lawrence Block's recovering alcoholic detective Matthew Scudder sits down to pen his autobiography...

I unexpectedly got this ARC in the mail from Lawrence Block's camp. When you get an ARC from your favorite living crime writer (or one of his guys), you drop what you're doing and get down to business.

The Autobiography of Matthew Scudder really feels like Scudder writing a series of journal entries about his life, from his birth to a brother who died in infancy that may or may not have impacted him, to eventually becoming a cop and later the whiskey drinking detective we first met in The Sins of the Fathers.

Essentially, it's more background to a well loved character that doesn't cut the legs out from anything we already know about him in any substantial way. There are no "Everything you know is wrong!" revelations. Block's style is as it ever was, as smooth as good whiskey. The account of his past fleshes out his past a bit, more details about Estrella Rivera, Elaine, and Danny Boy Bell, for instance. We learn more about his time as a cop and even some of his pre-police activities like taking up boxing and thinking of becoming a plumber before he decided to become a cop.

There's a line Matt uses about meeting friends and wondering if he'll ever see them again. That's what this book feels like, probably the last Matthew Scudder book and maybe even Lawrence Block's last one. Is the Autobiography of Matthew Scudder essential? Probably not. Will Matthew Scudder fans want to read it? Absolutely. My only gripe is that like a bottle of good whiskey, I wish it had lasted a bit longer. 4.5 out of 5.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Tod is God

Tod is God: The Authorized Story of How I Created Extreme Championship WrestlingTod is God: The Authorized Story of How I Created Extreme Championship Wrestling by Tod Gordon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a biography of Tod Gordon, the money man and brain behind Extreme Championship Wrestling.

I snapped this up when I saw it on Netgalley. Tod Gordon, the father of ECW? How could I pass this up?

This is the best wrestling book I've read in a long time. The Gordster doesn't waste any time and makes with the wrestling in short order. Tri-State Wrestling Alliance dies and Tod Gordon's Eastern Championship wrestling fill the void, eventually becoming the Extreme Championship Wrestling some of us knew and loved back in the day.

Tod doesn't really go out of the way to put himself over. He's a funny guy and obviously smart but doesn't sugar coat the decisions that came back to haunt him later. He's also open about the sex and rampant drug use behind the curtain in ECW.

I've probably read 50 or more wrestling books at this point and watched a shitload of documentaries but El Gordo reveals tons of stuff I never knew; the good, the bad, and the extremely fucked up. I don't want to spoil too much but Paul Heyman isn't the Sainted Father of ECW a lot of people make him out to bed.

Crazy shit aside, the Gordonator also makes the nuts and bolts of the wrestling business interesting. Not as interesting as the sex and drugs but it's really cool that guys like Terry Funk and Kevin Sullivan lent a hand when they could.

That's about all I've got to say, I guess. I'll refrain from saying Tod is God hits like Sabu on a table but imagine that I did. Five out of five stars.

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