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A Time to Scatter Stones

A Matthew Scudder Novella
Narrated by: Lawrence Block
Series: Matt Scudder
Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
4 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

MATT SCUDDER RETURNS

More than 40 years after his debut and nearly a decade since his last appearance, one of the most renowned characters in all of crime fiction is back on the case in this major new novella by Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block.

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, helping each other stay out of the life. 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.

A Time to Scatter Stones offers not just a gripping crime story but also a richly drawn portrait of Block's most famous character as he grapples with his own mortality while proving to the younger generation that he's still got what it takes. For Scudder's millions of fans around the world (including the many who met the character through Liam Neeson's portrayal in the film version of A Walk Among the Tombstones), A Time to Scatter Stones is an unexpected gift - a valedictory appearance that will remind listeners why Scudder is simply the best there is.

©2019 Lawrence Block (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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A Poetic Meditation on Time

Now this was a surprise: a new Matthew Scudder novella, appearing years after author Lawrence Block appeared to have closed the metaphorical book on his famed private investigator.

While I always enjoy the chance to spend time with Matt and his wife Elaine, their company is far from the only delight contained herein. What I've always loved about the Scudder books is that the detective has aged in (near) real-time. Now, several decades after his first appearance, he's bordering on elderly. More than any other Scudder story, this tale makes aging, and the passage of time, a central theme.

In fact, the mystery here is almost inconsequential. Sure, Scudder has a client who needs assistance. But that part of the story is only a prism, through which Block examines the way age changes us. In the hands of a less-gifted writer, this might border on self-indulgence, or even pretension. Not so here. At no point do Matt and Elaine's conversations, or Scudder's ruminations, become anything less than fascinating.

Lawrence Block narrates the story himself, and does a fine job. I've enjoyed his narration since I first heard his reading of "The Burglar in the Library." His decision to narrate the book himself feels appropriate to the themes of the story. This tale needs the voice of a man who has the benefit of experience behind it.

One note for long-time fans of the series: this is a Matt and Elaine story, first and foremost. Fans should know that TJ and Mick Ballou, although mentioned, do not appear.

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  • Jay Hins
  • fredericksburg, va United States
  • 05-07-19

Couldn’t finish this audio novella

I wanted to like this after hearing Michael Connelly’s recommendation of the Scudder series on podcast. I will try the earlier series to see if I can find a connect to the character as a younger detective.

It felt like it made my commute longer as I could find no hook with the story to pull me in.

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Prostitutes can’t get enough

Really? The dialogue is weak because it is exactly how we talk. The story? Well, spoiler alert. Retired cop beats up stalker of a working girl and everybody gets turned on.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 04-14-19

Late Blooming Flower

This is a great and unexpected treat. I always rated the Matt Scudder series as being up there with Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch and having thought the Scudder novels had ended I was delighted to listen to this and have it live up to expectations. The bonus is that it is read by the great Lawrence Block himself (sounding a lot like John Malkovich) so what could be better! The plot is secondary to the characters and to eavesdrop on Matt and Elaine in later life is like the sweetest PS to the best love letter ever received - a joy from start to finish.