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A Dance at the Slaughterhouse (1991)

von Lawrence Block

Reihen: Matthew Scudder (9)

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6351528,320 (4.02)10
A Dance at the Slaughterhouse: A Matthew Scudder Crime Novel (Matthew Scudder Mysteries) by Lawrence Block (2000)
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Matt Scudder allies with gangster friend to eliminate otherwise unreachable murderous couple
  ritaer | Jan 16, 2021 |
I was up until 2am reading this, frustrated with my sleepiness. I started reading again with my coffee this morning. I just couldn't stop.

The central plot seems a bit silly now because we know that there were no murderous satanic cults sacrificing babies at Day Care Centers, the chick from Cannibal Holocaust is still alive and well, Guinea Pig was done with special effects, etc. It all became sickeningly real with the advent of the Internet and easy/cheap digital recording, but in the late '80s it was nothing but an urban legend.

But, child exploitation and pornography was a nasty little problem then (and now), Block got that exactly right and it was enough to hold the central premise of the book.

I usually dislike it when authors throw two plots together and try to make them stick. Most authors do this poorly and it just seems lazy. Block did it brilliantly by keeping the focus of Scudder's investigation within a small part of the city and within the same profession. That made it believable. Working in NYC is the same as working anywhere else - Everybody knows, or has heard of, everyone else. Names, faces and resumes float around in a limited area and people's names live on the edge of your memory and the tip of your tongue. (This was even true when I was in social work in NYC.)

The same is true for people who live in your neighborhood, especially if you see them every day.

So, I was really impressed with the way that Block pulled this book together.

I am absolutely loving this series. I just can't stop reading. ( )
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
The crimes in this mystery are pretty intense, and Scudder's reactions to them equally so. I don't think this is Block's strongest Scudder story, because it relies on fairly improbable coincidences, but it is different from most of the series, and I liked seeing Scudder's character stretched. ( )
  breic | Jan 3, 2019 |
A Dance At The Slaughterhouse" is the ninth novel in Block's Matthew Scudder series. It is a finely tuned piece of work and, in it, Scudder meets people so twisted and so evil even he is shocked. You would think that there was nothing left to surprise this battle-hardened man, but there are things people do to each other for amusement and power games that is just truly evil. And, often, the most evil ones are the most charming and the most seductive.

At this point in the series, Scudder has given up drinking, but not given up hanging in bars. In particular, he hangs out with the giant butcher Mick Ballou, shoots the breeze with him, and attends mass with him in the early morning hours. Scudder has a steady lady friend now and attends meetings all the time.

The opening scene with the boxing match works tremendously well and captures the atmosphere of the match and the way you look around the audience.

There are parts of this book that are quite graphic and will make some readers very uncomfortable, but there's a point to it and it's that Scudder is uncomfortable too. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
Matt Scudder is hired by the brother of a recently murdered woman. He's given the unfortunate task of investigating the husband who is believed by most to have had a hand in her demise. Shortly after taking the job, Matt finds himself drawn back into something that had impacted his life just a few months earlier.

Coming off the heels of the 8th Scudder novel in which Matt encounters his most dangerous adversary, Block created an impressive follow up. Block gives Scudder plenty to do here, hitting him with two mysteries.

The surrounding cast within Scudder's universe both expands and develops nicely. In fact, there's quite a bit of development. His relationship with Elaine becomes a little more defined and you do get that sense that something is going to have to change. His friendship with Durkin becomes a little complicated at points and Mick Ballou is just as awesome as ever.

I will sneak this in here - I've read a lot of Chuck Palahniuk so I've got a taste for over-the-top, disgusting events taking place. Some of the stuff that Block throws in here is pretty uncharacteristic for the series up to this point. While it didn't disturb me nor offend me, it was certainly unexpected.

In typical Block fashion (basing this on the 8 other books I've read), the ending is pretty quick. The final pages are filled with action and suspense which wrap up the book excellently. In fact, something rather significant occurs prompting Scudder to act in a way you probably couldn't predict.

I'm going to say 4.5. I really loved this book, I just can't put it on the same level as its predecessor. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
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A Dance at the Slaughterhouse: A Matthew Scudder Crime Novel (Matthew Scudder Mysteries) by Lawrence Block (2000)

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