Did you know Matthew Scudder was portrayed by Jeff Bridges and Liam Neeson?
Who is Matthew Scudder?
Unlicensed private eye, Matt Scudder is the most famous creation of American crime writer Lawrence Block.
From the start, Matt Scudder is introduced as a reformed alcoholic living in New York City. He is an ex-cop who had recently quit the NYPD and left his family after accidentally causing the death of a young girl. After that, he starts living in a rent-controlled hotel room in Hell’s Kitchen and working as an unlicensed private investigator.
Matthew Scudder Books in Order:
- The Sins of the Fathers – The pretty young prostitute is dead. Her alleged murderer—a minister’s son—hanged himself in his jail cell. The case is closed. But the dead girl’s father has come to Matthew Scudder for answers, sending the unlicensed private investigator in search of terrible truths about a life that was lived and lost in a sordid world of perversion and pleasures.
- Time to Murder and Create – Small-time stoolie, Jake ” The Spinner” Jablon, made a lot of new enemies when he switched careers, from informer to blackmailer. And the more “clients”, he figured, the more money — and more people eager to see him dead. So no one is surprised when the pigeon is found floating in the East River with his skull bashed in. And what’s worse, no one cares — except Matthew Scudder.
- In the Midst of Death – Bad cop Jerry Broadfield didn’t make any friends on the force when he volunteered to squeal to an ambitious d.a. about police corruption. Now he’s accused of murdering a call girl. Matthew Scudder doesn’t think Broadfield’s a killer, but the cops aren’t about to help the unlicensed p.i. prove it.
- A Stab in the Dark – Louis Pinell, the recently apprehended “Icepick Prowler,” freely admits to having slain seven young women nine years ago — but be swears it was a copycat who killed Barbara Ettinger. Matthew Scudder believes him. But the trail to Ettinger’s true murderer is twisted, dark and dangerous…and even colder than the almost decade-old corpse the p.i. is determined to avenge.
- Eight Million Ways to Die – Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn’t deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn’t deserve her death. The p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim’s killer will be Scudder’s penance.
- When the Sacred Ginmill Closes – Matthew Scudder is a witness to a heist in an illegal drinking den, and the owners would like him to find the culprits, while another witness wants him to investigate the murder of his wife.
- Out on the Cutting Edge – Matthew Scudder is hired to find Paula Hoeldtke. Hot on the ice-cold trail of the missing girl, he finds it’s a sleaze-and-terror playground in which he is looking for love in all the wrong places, and finding death in all the right ones.
- A Ticket to the Boneyard – The streets of New York are never safe, but the release of James Leo Motley, a psychopath who went down swearing revenge on PI Matt Scudder, means death is out there. No one is safe: friends, lovers, or just those unfortunate enough to share the Scudder name. Soon the streets are littered with the dying and Matt begins to question his new found sobriety.
- A Dance at the Slaughterhouse – To Matt Scudder, no one can rise above the law. But when the ex-cop is privately hired to investigate the murder of a beautiful pregnant woman, he finds himself pushed to the limits of his beliefs. With every step he takes, Scudder discovers darker and more depraved secrets.
- A Walk Among the Tombstones – Kenan Khoury’s wife went out grocery shopping and never came home. Alive, anyway. But because Kenan Khoury buys and sells drugs for a living he can’t go to the police for help. He goes to Matthew Scudder instead — the unlicensed private eye will stop at nothing to bring the brutal killers to justice before another innocent woman falls beneath their knives.
- The Devil Knows You’re Dead – A deranged derelict, a crazed Vietnam vet, has been arrested for gunning down successful young lawyer Glenn Holtzmann at a corner phone booth on Eleventh Avenue — and the suspect’s brother wants p.i. Matthew Scudder to prove the madman innocent.
- A Long Line of Dead Men – In Manhattan, thirty-one men have been meeting annually for years. Their private club meets only to record the passage of time and give toast to the joys of life. But suddenly they are dying at an alarming rate and one of their number begins to suspect that something more than bad luck is at work. For Matt Scudder, the case is one of the most baffling he’s faced. Can the deaths really be a bizarre series of suicides and violent accidents?
- Even the Wicked – Matt Scudder is drawn into the case of a serial killer targeting criminals who the law cannot touch. The Will of the People, egged on by a vitriolic newspaper columnist, kills a sex offender, a mobster and a racist cult leader, despite their seemingly impenetrable security. Then Scudder gets a call from a hot-shot attorney, the recipient of the Will’s latest letter…
- Everybody Dies – Ex-cop Matt Scudder is off the booze, but he still spends time with some of his old drinking buddies, including Mick Ballou. Two of Mick’s henchmen have been killed during a raid on one of his bourbon warehouses and Mick wants Scudder on the case, but someone else wants Scudder off the job.
- Hope to Die – The city caught its collective breath when upscale couple Byrne and Susan Hollander were slaughtered in a brutal home invasion. Now, a few days later, the killers themselves have turned up dead behind the locked door of a Brooklyn hellhole – one apparently slain by his partner in crime, who then took his own life. There’s something drawing Matthew Scudder to this case that the cops have quickly and eagerly closed.
- All the Flowers Are Dying – Matt Scudder has had enough. He plans to wind up his investigations and concentrate on AA meetings and his lovely wife, Elaine. But he agrees to take one last case. Louise, a single woman, has finally met a man she likes, but she fears he’s keeping something from her and so hires Matt to check him out. But before Matt can track down the real identity of Louise’s lover, a horrific murder is committed – and the only forensic evidence links the killer to Elaine.
- A Drop of the Hard Stuff – Facing his demons in his first year of sobriety, Matthew Scudder finds himself on the trail of a killer. When Scudder’s childhood friend Jack Ellery is murdered, Scudder reluctantly begins his own investigation, with just one lead: Ellery’s Alcoholics Anonymous list of people he wronged. One of them may be a killer.
- A Time to Scatter Stones – Well past retirement age and feeling his years—but still staying sober one day at a time—Matthew Scudder learns that alcoholics aren’t the only ones who count the days since their last slip. Matt’s longtime partner, Elaine, tells him of a group of former sex workers who do something similar. But when one young woman describes an abusive client who’s refusing to let her quit, Elaine encourages her to get help of a different sort. The sort only Scudder can deliver.
The Night and the Music – This is a short story anthology, a collection of eleven stories and novelettes, from a pair of late-70s novelettes (Out the Window and A Candle for the Bag Lady) through By the Dawn’s Early Light (Edgar) and The Merciful Angel of Death (Shamus), all the way to One Last Night at Grogan’s, a moving and elegiac story never before published.