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All the Flowers Are Dying

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All the Flowers Are Dying

Matthew Scudder Series, Book 16
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In his sixteenth Matthew Scudder novel, All the Flowers Are Dying, New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block takes the award-winning series to a new level of suspense and a new depth of...
In his sixteenth Matthew Scudder novel, All the Flowers Are Dying, New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block takes the award-winning series to a new level of suspense and a new depth of...
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Description-
  • In his sixteenth Matthew Scudder novel, All the Flowers Are Dying, New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block takes the award-winning series to a new level of suspense and a new depth of characterization. Building on the critical and commercial success of Hope to Die, Block puts Scudder -- and the reader -- at the very edge of the abyss.

    Scudder, a complex character who has grown and aged in real time, confronts the implacable challenge of mortality. But he must also tackle a determined, relentless, and icily inhuman adversary, perhaps the most unforgettable villain Block has ever created.

    A man in a Virginia prison awaits execution for three hideous murders he swears, in the face of irrefutable evidence, he did not commit. A psychologist who claims to believe the convict spends hours with the man in his death row cell, and ultimately watches in the gallery as the lethal injection is administered. His work completed, the psychologist heads back to New York City to attend to unfinished business.

    Meanwhile, Scudder has just agreed to investigate the ostensibly suspicious online lover of an acquaintance. It seems simple enough. At first. But when people start dying and the victims are increasingly closer to home, it becomes clear that a vicious killer is at work. And the final targets may be Matt and Elaine Scudder.

    The suspense is breathtaking, the outcome never certain. A series that has garnered no end of awards -- the Edgar, the Shamus, the Philip Marlowe, the MalteseFalcon -- has ascended to a dizzying new height. With this novel, Lawrence Block, who recently received the Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement from the Crime Writers Association of the United Kingdom, is at the very top of his form.

 
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    When I got there, Joe Durkin was already holding down a corner table and working on a drink -- vodka on the rocks, from the looks of it. I took in the room and listened to the hum of conversation at the bar, and I guess some of what I was feeling must have found its way to my face, because the first thing Joe asked me was if I was all right. I said I was fine, and why?

    "Because you look like you saw a ghost," he said.

    "Be funny if I didn't," I said. "The room is full of them."

    "A little new for ghosts, isn't it? How long have they been open, two years?"

    "Closer to three."

    "Time flies," he said, "whether you're having fun or not. Jake's Place, whoever Jake is. You got a history with him?"

    "I don't know who he is. I had a history with the place before it was his."

    "Jimmy Armstrong's."

    "That's right."

    "He died, didn't he? Was that before or after 9/11?"

    That's our watershed; everything in our lives is before or after that date. "After," I said, "by five or six months. He left the place to a nephew, who tried running it for a few months and then decided it wasn't the life he wanted for himself. So I guess he sold it to Jake, whoever Jake is."

    "Whoever Jake is," he said, "he puts a good meal on the table. You know what they've got here? You can get an Irish breakfast all day long."

    "What's that, a cigarette and a six-pack?"

    "Very funny. You must know what an Irish breakfast is, a sophisticated guy like yourself."

    I nodded. "It's the cardiac special, right? Bacon and eggs and sausage."

    "And grilled tomato."

    "Ah, health food."

    "And black pudding," he said, "which is hard to find. You know what you want? Because I'll have the Irish breakfast."

    I told the waitress I'd have the same, and a cup of coffee. Joe said one vodka was enough, but she could bring him a beer. Something Irish, to go with the breakfast, but not Guinness. She suggested a Harp, and he said that would be fine.

    I've known Joe for twenty years, though I don't know that ours is an intimate friendship. He's spent those years as a detective at Midtown North, working out of the old stationhouse on West Fifty-fourth Street, and we'd developed a working relationship over time. I went to him for favors, and returned them, sometimes in cash, sometimes in kind. Now and then he steered a client my way. There were times when our relations had been strained; my close friendship with a career criminal never sat well with him, while his attitude after one vodka too many didn't make me relish his company. But we'd been around long enough to know how to make it work, overlooking what we didn't like to look at and staying close but not too close.

    Around the time our food arrived, he told me he'd put in his papers. I said he'd been threatening to do so for years, and he said he'd had everything filled out and ready to go a few years ago, and then the towers came down. "That was no time to retire," he said. "Although guys did, and how could you blame 'em? They lost their heart for the job. Me, I'd already lost my heart for it. Shoveling shit against the tide, all we ever do. Right then, though, I managed to convince myself I was needed."

    "I can imagine."

    "So I stayed three years longer than I intended, and if I did anything useful in those three years I can't remember what it was. Anyway, I'm done. Today's what, Wednesday? A week from Friday's my last day. So all I have to do now is figure out what the hell to do with the rest of my life."

    Which was why he'd asked me to meet him for dinner, in a room full of ghosts.

About the Author-
  • Lawrence Block is one of the most widely recognized names in the mystery genre. He has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. He received the Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association--only the third American to be given this award. He is a prolific author, having written more than fifty books and numerous short stories, and is a devoted New Yorker and an enthusiastic global traveler.

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    HarperCollins
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