I've been gone awhile -- okay a long while -- but here I am again!
During my absence, I read A Drop of the Hard Stuff, Lawrence Block's latest Matthew Scudder novel. It's been a few years since I've read anything by Lawrence Block, and I'd forgotten how witty the guy is. A bunch of smart retorts from different characters had me laughing out loud, even rereading certain lines because they were so good.
Overall, the book was what I would call a "slow read." That's not to say it was boring, but that the pacing was steady and unhurried. Scudder spends much of the book attending AA meetings, which provided some interesting inside tidbits about how the meetings operate and how vital a good sponsor is. Block definitely nailed an authentic feel for the life of a recovering alcoholic.
When one of his childhood friends, also a recovering alcoholic, is murdered, Scudder finds himself drawn into the investigation, though he's not sure he wants to be. But, in between AA meetings, he interviews potential suspects and tries to figure out what happened. The even pacing is a good reflection of Scudder's own life as he plods through each day trying to stay sober until he can reach the next day. It's not as dreary as I'm probably making it sound, and the humor adds another dimension that keeps the book entertaining. The second half picks up in speed as more people die and Scudder finds himself in danger.
I like that this was a flashback book, where Scudder is telling an old friend about these events that took place in the eighties. I don't feel like I've missed anything by not reading all of the previous Scudder books. Now, I'm off to find more Scudder novels, figure out which ones I've read before, or maybe even read them again. Block's style of writing never gets old.