A Drop Of The Hard Stuff Mysterious Book ReportA Drop of the Hard Stuff  by Lawrence Block

Mulholland Books, $25.99, 319 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-17804-4

This week’s MBR is A Drop of the Hard Stuff, by Lawrence Block, a distinguished author of more than fifty novels.  He’s as easy and comfortable to read as a favorite old flannel shirt is to wear beside a warm fire on a nippy fall night.

The novel begins with two old friends, both of whom are drinking men, but one of them has been sober for more than twenty-five years as a practicing member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  His name is Matt Scudder, an ex-cop who’s now a private investigator.  The plot is a trip down memory lane as Scudder recalls one of his first cases while struggling to maintain his sobriety on the eve of his first year in AA, the hardest one you’ll ever have, except for all the ones that follow, according to his sponsor.  As the bodies mount up and the perpetrator stays unknown, Scudder is drawn ever-deeper into the mystery.  His life becomes jeopardized when he probes further . . . and he may be the last in the chain of killings.  If you enjoy mysteries, you owe it to yourself to read Lawrence Block.  “The Matthew Scudder novels are among the finest detective books penned this century,” according to best-selling author Jonathan Kellerman.  High praise, you’ll agree.  I do. Treat yourself by reading one.


John Dwaine McKenna