Ok, I’ll admit it, that’s kind of a dumb stretch to combine tonight’s topics but I had to do something. If got this tick that forces me to come up with interesting headlines even at the cost of commen sense, or common decency. One of my jobs at the newspaper was writing the punny headlines for the police beat column, They were very popular but every week it got harder and harder to come up with them.
So on to today’s specials. The Catch of the Day is my new Flash short-short story for my hypermedia writing workshop. This ones cool (and more traditional than TRUNK SHOT) and more multimedia including pictures and music. It’s called PRO BONO and you should check it now.
For dessert we have All the Flowers are Dying, Lawrence Block’s new Matthew Scudder novel.
NOW ENTERING THE SPOILER FOREST…
Okay, so this is the best Scudder book since Eight Million Ways to Die. The early buzz had it that Scudder’s wife Elaine dies and he falls off the wagon. I was SO hoping this would be true. Sadly, it’s not. Elaine gets raped and stabbed and Scudder gets stabbed and shot (and for a brief moment I thought maybe Block killed him off) but in the end it’s just not enough to overcome my disappointment. Block is obviously aware of the rumors of Elaine’s demise and plays to them frequently. He goes out of his way to set up how perfect their life together is and Scudder says he’d have no reason to go on without her. A bit after the midpoint in the book, Scudder and Elaine share an intimate evening together and while they lay in bed together he says “It was a perfect evening. Little did I know there wouldn’t be any more of them.”
Tell me that’s not setting us up for her murder.
As for falling off the wagon, Scudder goes to more meetings than usual and he is tempted to drink more than usual but alas, he never hits the bottle. Lousy AA…
Block said this is his darkest book in a while and I agree. Tonewise it bears a striking resemblence to Eight Million Ways to Die and Scudder even references that case and era frequently. The shadow of 9/11 also hangs over the story but doesn’t play as big of a part as it did in Small Town. The book is also much more erotic in parts than previous Scudder book, this also mirrors Small Town.
The ending is a doozy and I wont give it away. But I do think Block was smart to use the potential of Elaines murder to completely distract the reader from some pretty obvious clues. So if you go into it knowing Elaine survives I think you’ll be better off and can appreciate the rest of the book’s greatness.