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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