Lawrence Block created a character that I have grown so fond of, Matthew Scudder even though this is only the second book in the series that I’ve read.
An ex NYC cop (is there ever one?) he’s an un-licensed PI because being a licensed PI requires paperwork, reports, and reporting income to the IRS. He would rather do ‘favors’ for friends (or perhaps acquaintances) for ‘gifts’ from same.
In The Midst of Death we learn a little more about Matt and his relationship with the NYPD, his character (what makes him tick) and his moral values. He does not draw a fine line between what’s right and what’s wrong and seems to be less judgmental than folks around him. (I’m trying hard to not think of other protagonists such as Dismas Hardy or Dave Robicheaux who have their own personal and different, maybe, moral codes. But it’s hard not to keep them away,in my mind, from Matt.)
Regarding moral codes, you won't find any Stephanie Plum's on my reading list; well, maybe one or two during my experimental stage. Not sure she knows there is such a thing as moral code. And not doing any SP bashing, here. Different strokes for different folks and as long as you're reading, good for you!
Published in 1976, the quick read doesn’t seem dated except Matt’s always using dimes in the phone booths. Doesn’t bother me a whit though.
If you haven’t read Lawrence Block, put him down to-read
if you enjoy an easy, enjoyable book or short story. He uses descriptive phrases such as: with a mouth with lines on either side that look like parenthesis; sorry, paraphrasing there, he said it much better. He creates a great plots and subplots that don't let you get bogged down. And he writes clean and easy. How I love clean writing.
Must insert one of my favorite quotes by Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Easy reading is damn hard writing."
The ending of this book was particularly surprising to me and a little disappointing. Not the writing, of course, just the ending. I’m always rooting for Matt in the hope that he’ll do himself a favor and ease up on his drinking and stop punishing himself for past experiences. But, if he did that, then I would have such a great reading experience.
I love fallen characters. Always hoping they will find a way to better themselves and only want the best for this ‘sweet man’ Matt Scudder. (Oh my, sounds like I’m talking about a real live, heart beating, flesh and blood person. Block’s writing does that to me.