Battling the bottle one day at a time, ex-cop, sometime PI Matthew Scudder finds that next to staying sober, staying alive seems easy. But in the mean streets of New York City it never is. Not for the prostitute who wanted out and got her beautiful self slashed to ribbons. Not for a pimp named Chance who is betting his life that the broken-down detective can find her murderer. And not for Matthew Scudder - just trying to stay alive in a city that knows nothing better than how to die. Winner of the Shamus Award!
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Great book, and well read. I'm a fan of Block and the Scudder series. This is the first book of the Scudder series that breaks away from the formula of boozing-detective, as Scudder realises he has a drinking problem and exerts as much effort fighting his urge to drink as he does solving the mystery. So well written and crafted, all the story holds up except perhaps for the ending which was a bit 80s-B-movie for me, but considering this was written in 1982, is holds up amazingly well. I didn't read/ listen to this for a long time as I'd seen an awful film version, but the plot had been changed and has nothing to do with the plot of the novel (funny how Hollywood does that). Highly recommended