Liant sleuth Matt Scudder They remind me what a fine body of work The Scudder Series Represents Scudder series represents really must re read these books one day Speaking of LustGreed two works previously published as stand alone novellas are very clever If you were ever in doubt you ll know you re in the hands of the master when you get to these ust brilliant And the final story I listed is funny and as a fair weather golfer something I could absolutely relate toThe only reason I couldn t bring myself to give this five stars is that and it s the nature of a collection like this there are a few stories here not up the the very high standard of the very best But don t let that put you off overall it s an excellent compilation You know what I find soothing as I stay indoors during an international pandemic Tales of crime and murder Hey don t Snow Dog judge me We re allust trying to get through thisI ve long believed that Lawrence Block is one of our greatest crime writers and I ve read a ton of his books so I thought I was familiar with all his tricks and tropes However something I picked up on for the first time in this collection is Ageless Body, Timeless Mind just how often he delivers an absolute killer of a last line Seriously even if you see an ending or a twist coming he usuallyust CRUSHES that final sentence to deliver a solid The Correspondence jolt that is the perfect moment to end on It s like how a great comedian can keep you laughing for a whole bit and then deliver the perfect punch line to end it on that leaves you howling This is a fairly eclectic collection that features stories with some of his most famous characters like the one with Block himself having a conversation with booksellerburglar Bernie Rhoedenbarr in A Burglar s Eye View of Greed Then there s two stories featuring Matt Scudder with Mick Ballou Looks at a Blank Screen and One Last Night at Grogan s There s also another tale Clean Slate that eventually got expanded in the novel Getting OffIt s notust Block doing his regular characters or familiar material There s the titular Catch and Release about a fisherman who applies his fishing philosophy to his other hobby A Chance to Get Even features a desperate poker player who doesn t know when to uit A fan takes his allegiance to a particular tennis player very seriously in A Vision in White while Dolly s Trash and Treasures gives us an inside look at the mind of a hoarder How Far is a one act play that I d love to see performed someday Welcome to the Real World will be extremely relatable to anyone who has ever shanked a golf ball into the woods Part of the Job is good one with a nice hook but Block explaining how it was discovered by a fan in an old magazine but he has no memory of writing or publishing it is interesting than the story itself Scenarios and Without a Body were my least favorites They re both fine but both seem about the gimmick "in each story than anything particularly new or "each story than anything particularly new or ones I enjoyed most that don t involve Matt Scudder are the matched pair Speaking of Greed and Speaking of Lust A big part of the reason I likd them is that they sound like the set up to a A Dark Enchantment joke A priest a cop a soldier and a doctor were playing poker while a sleepy old man keeps farting Only instead of it being aoke it s actually a framing device for each character to tell a story about greed and lust Per Block s explanation it was part of a plan to write a set based on the seven deadly sins but he ran out of ideas after ust those two It s a great premise and each of the stories within the stories are intriguing in their own way with this poker game taking on a vaguely spooky air as things progress It reminded of a good anthology TV series like Twilight Zone only with crime storiesThe funny thing about why I read this is that somebody pointed out to Block on Twitter that the audio version he narrated was available on Spotify Block wasn t sure how or why it ended up on there but he cheerfully promoted it and I was happy to listen to him read me some tales as I was stuck at home It was far enjoyable than watching the news. Ather too secret admirera dealer in stolen art who is unwilling to part with his most prized possession at any pricepoker players with agendas that have nothing to do with the cards in their handsand a catch and release fisherman whose preferred catch walks on two legsTerror and passion cruelty and vindication it's all here in a collection that will thrill you scare you and remind you why Lawrence Block is still the best there is at what he does. ,
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Like any collection of short stories this is hit
OR MISS THE TWO WORST WERE SPEAKING OF GREEDmiss The two worst were Speaking of Greed Speaking of Lust They involve a soldier priest policeman and doctor playing cards and like Caterbury Tales they each tell a story relating to greed and then lust Greed was pretty boring while Lust was fairly disgusting involving incest rape and a murderer who kills so he can get a boner The characters actually say What s the harm in a brother and sister sleeping together and marrying Really Are these guys members of House Lannister or whatThe other stories were OK Some like the one about golf were funny I wish the Bernie Rhodenbarr one had been longer He s the only regular Block character to show up in thisThat is all I have no problem with trash but this isn t uite the kind of trash i d hoped for instead of trash I d hoped for instead gleefully pulpy tales most of these are either uite pedestrian especially the insufferable poker and golf stories and the lengthy philosophical discussions or else they are dark and depraved for no reason other than seemingly to shock and titillate There are only a couple of entries that truly surprise and entertain I gave the majority of these stories 1 or 2 stars I liked 7 out of the 17 and gave them 3 stars each Here are some of my thoughts on some of the storiesA Burglar s Eye View of Greed What a tease How the hell do you rate a story with only a couple of pages I get that it s a short story but really I was looking forward to a story featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr after reading past books featuring this character and this was a big disappointment Rating 1 out of 5 starsA Chance to Get Even Surprisingly I liked the way it ended even though all that card talk was boring It was probably boring because I don t know a damn thing about poker Rating 3 out of 5 starsA Vision in White If the author s goal was to thoroughly creep me out he did it in spades However I always have a difficult time enjoying a story revolving around a bad guy Unlike A Chance to Get Even where I felt sympathy for the main character until he did what he did or what you re led to believe he s about to do I didn t feel anything good about this stalker Rating 1 out of 5 starsCatch and Release This story was extremely disturbing If I was rating based on the uality of writing I d give it a high rating However since the rating system is a matter of showing how much you like it I ll have to give it 1 star because I most certainly did not like this storyHow Far Surprisingly I liked it It wasn t creepy at all not like some of the others At this point I hadn t liked the majority of the stories and I thought that this would be another dud Rating 3 out of 5 starsMick Ballou Looks at the Blank Screen Short but sweet Rating 3 out of 5 starsPart of the Job Whoa That story had a surprising ending I disagree with the author on one thing The story itself IS better than the story about the story Rating 3 out of 5 starsSee the Woman A very depressing story Rating 3 out of 5 starsWithout a Body I liked that the character Irene had something beautiful to look forward to after death Rating 3 out of 5 stars I liked the the idea of these short stories and their themes but Lawrence Block as a narrator didn t work for me OVERALL GRADE C to C plus Catch and Release is a collection of Lawrence Block s short stories As usual I Ll Attempt To ll attempt to on them as I go without revealing too much which is difficult when it comes to short storiesA Burglar s Eye View of Greed Bernie Rhodenbarr gives his thoughts on greed It s a nice little window into his personality and makes me want to resume reading the Burglar seriesA Chance to Get Even This is the story of a poker player who doesn t know how to bet than he can afford to lose and keeps trying to climb out of the hole he s dug for himselfA Vision in White A man develops a fixation on a young beautiful tennis playerCatch and Release A former serial killer explains his catch and release philosophy thinking of himself like a fisherman Best short story of the collection Chilling and creepyCl. The Master Returns with Never Before Collected Tales of Murder and DesireOn of the most highly acclaimed novelists in the crime genre Lawrence Block is also a master of the short story with award winning work ranging from the macabre to the slyly comic from heart stopping tales of revenge to memorable explorations of lust and greed all told in Block's unmistakable style The sixteen stories and one stage play collected here feature appearances by. .
Ean Slate This was a story that eventually grew and became Getting Off A Novel of Sex and Violence Kit Tolliver s systematic killing of every man she s ever slept with to restore her spiritual virginityDolly s Trash and Treasures This is a sad and creepy story about county workers trying to help a hoarder whose family has run out on herHow Far This is a one act play about a woman who wants to get her ex to stop bothering her It s all dialog and all "Block so it s pretty slickMick Ballou Looks at a Blank Screen "so it s pretty slickMick Ballou Looks at a Blank Screen and Matthew Scudder talk about what happens after death and the Sopranos finaleOne Last Night at Grogan s Mick Ballou closes Grogan s and invites Matt and Elaine to spend one last evening with him there Still as touching as the first time I read itPart of the Job A man searches for another man who s umped to the competition with an important set of plans This one was all about the ending which I will not spoil here The story behind the story is that someone gave Block a magazine with the story published in it and Block never remembered selling itScenarios Scenarios is an interesting tale of what might happen when a man meets a woman in a barSee the Woman An elderly former cop recounts the tale of an abusive drunk and the wife that kept making excuses for himSpeaking of Greed A group of poker players swap stories about greed in this novellaSpeaking of Lust A group of poker players swap stories about lust in this novellaWelcome to the Real World A retiree s routine is disrupted when another man suggests he play golf instead of ust practicing at the driving range As with PG Wodehouse stories about golf are interesting to me than actually watching it on TVWho Knows Where It Goes An unemployed man tries a different line of work and thinks about how things change Without spoiling too much this could have been a very early Keller storyWithout a Body This is the story of a murder and the aftermath from the victim s point of viewThe afterword tells the stories behind the stories what Block had in mind while he was writing it who he wrote it for etcI d say Catch and Release the titular tale was the best of the bunch but I didn t think any of them were duds Unlike some Hard Case the best of the bunch but I didn t think any of them were duds Unlike some Hard Case this one had the Hard Case feel any of them were duds Unlike some Hard Case reprints this one had the Hard Case feel Another winning Hard Case from Lawrence Block Four stars Well it is not really a novel but a number of short stories a couple of novellas that are really one story and a few things he had forgotten he had written inclu CATCH AND RELEASE is a collection of crime stories that run the gamut of settings We have backgrounds of golf fishing a couple on poker We get serial killers burglars retired folks a cop a priest a doctor and a soldierA couple I d read in their original appearances but it was nice to get reacuainted All were well written as one would suspect from the master and had a twist here and there with victims getting in shot here and thereThe book is available in a nice hardcover edition from Subterranean Press who do their usual handsome ob as well as Hard Case Crime s trade edition and an ebook for those on that end of the reading baseHighly recommended Conpillation of short works took a flyer on it because of the hardcase imprimatur and was not disappointed I d read a scratching from Block on the back of a cereal pack so picking up a new set of short stories from the Master of Crime was a no brainer I say new but I ve come across some of these before notably in a previous collection Night and the Music and also a book he penned in 2011 under the pseudonym Jill Emerson Getting Off Though rereading these offerings was no problem in fact given the state of my memory these days it was a while before I recognised I d trodden some of these paths beforeFor the record my favourite offerings were in no particular orderClean SlateMick Ballou Looks at the Blank ScreenOne Last Night at Grogan sSpeaking of GreedSpeaking of LustWelcome to the Real WorldThere is a huge variety of tales here The second and third stories listed above feature Block s bril. Some of Block's most famous characters including Bernie Rhodenbarr and alcoholic private detective Matt Scudder as well as glimpses into the minds of a rogue's gallery of frightening killers dangerous sociopaths crooked cops and lost souls whose only chance to find themselves may be on the wrong side of a gunYou'll meet a compulsive hoarder whose towering piles of trash and treasures hide disturbing secretsa beautiful young tennis star with a .