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A Drop of the Hard Stuff

Paperback, 02/01/2012

ISBN 9780316127318

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“Totally gripping … a great American crime novel.”–Time

Matthew Scudder is facing his demons. Forced out of the NYPD, he’s given up the drink. He’s thinking seriously about his relationship with sometime girlfriend Jan. Then he runs into “High-Low” Jack Ellery, a childhood friend from the Bronx. They’re two sides of the same coin: Scudder once solved crimes as a detective. Ellery committed them. In Scudder, Ellery sees the moral man he might have become. In Ellery, Scudder sees the hard-won sobriety he hopes to achieve.

Then Ellery is killed, shot once in the mouth and once between the eyes, presumably while attempting to atone for past sins. Is it what he saw or what he said that got him killed? Ellery had no family, no friends to press for justice. Scudder reluctantly begins his own investigation, with just one lead—Ellery’s Alcoholics Annonymous list of people he wronged. One of them may be a murderer, but that’s not necessarily Scudder’s greatest danger. Immersing himself in Ellery’s world may lead him right back to the bar stool.

Exploring themes of loss, nostalgia, and redemption, for Lawrence Block, A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF circles back to how it all began, reestablishing why the Matthew Scudder series is widely regarded as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction.

Praise for A Drop of the Hard Stuff

Moving. Elegiac. Right up there with Mr. Block’s best. A Drop of the Hard Stuff keeps us guessing.” -Wall Street Journal

“Block has so perfected a pared-down, hard-boiled style that his story–about good intentions that backfire, fatally–seems to tell itself.”–Washington Post

Mesmerizing … A lament for all the old familiar things that are now almost lost, almost forgotten.” -The New York Times Book Review

One of the finest in the entire Scudder series.” -Entertainment Weekly

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