Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lawrence Block

I just finished Lawrence Block's A Stab in the Dark, which is one of his Matthew Scudder books. This is actually the first fiction I've ever read by Block, and I see what I've been missing. Nice tight writing and a well told tale. I'm definitely going to be looking for more of these. This one was published in 1981. Probably the main reason I've not read him before is that I'm not typically big into mysteries.

The first thing I read by Block was Telling Lies for Fun & Profit, his nonfiction book on writing. This was excellent, and from there I decided to try his fiction. I got A Stab in the Dark at a book sale, but I'll be checking his stuff out next time I'm in Borders or Barnes & Noble.

I certainly recommend the two books of his I've read so far.

6 comments:

Michelle's Spell said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Charles. Always looking for something new!

Sidney said...

I'm an uber Block fan, and like you it started with his non-fiction work on writing.

I highly recommend reading more of the Scudder books, and I would suggest reading them in order after "Stab" because there is an overarching story that continues in "Eight Million Ways to Die" and following. "When the Sacred Ginmill Closes" is a flashback but then the forward arching story continues.

Others I like a lot are "A Long Line of Dead Men" and "Everybody" Dies." There's a novella called "A Candle for the Bag Lady" that is also excellent if you can find it. It was in "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine" and may be collected somewhere in an anthology.

nolasteve said...

Lucky you, you have finally found Lawrence. He has written several books on writing, Writing the Novel From Plot to Print (1979), Telling Lies for Fun & Profit (1981), Write For Your Life (1986), and Spider, Spin Me a Web (1987). He wrote the fiction column for a while in Writer’s Digest and I believe these are in part, collections of his columns. They are still great advise. He approaches writing from a less serious side, much like King, in that the writer is telling a story and all the rest is just HOW the story gets told.

I have been a big Block fan for years, read him in burst. I have no idea how many books he has written. There are a lot under other names. He also has another NYC based series, featuring a burglar, Bernie Rhodenbarr. He wrote one other series featuring Evan Tanner, back in the 60’s that is now being re-released. I have Tanner’s Tiger, but haven’t gotten to it yet. He also has a great web site.

Jack said...

I keep getting close to reading a Lawrence Block story, but haven't quite done it yet. You have taken me another step closer.

Susan Miller said...

So much reading...so little time. Thanks for the recommendation, Charles.

Steve Malley said...

I got into Block in a big way back in my early teens. Mostly, it was that, well, he wrote good smut. The stories were also lean, tense thrillers, and I can't remember a single dud.

He's also written some mighty fine work on the craft of writing. Which I see Sidney just mentioned...