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A Long Line of Dead Men

A Matthew Scudder Crime Novel, Book 12
Narrated by: Joe Barrett
Series: Matt Scudder, Book 12
Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Summary

An ancient brotherhood meets annually in the back room of a swank Manhattan restaurant, a fraternity created in secret to celebrate life by celebrating its dead. But the past three decades have not been kind to the Club of 31. Matthew Scudder - ex-cop and ex-boozer - has known death in all its guises, which is why he has been asked to investigate a baffling thirty-year run of suicides and suspiciously random accidents that has thinned the ranks of this very select group of gentlemen.

But Scudder has mortality problems of his own, for his is a city that feeds mercilessly on the unsuspecting - even the powerful and those who serve them are easy prey. There are too many secrets here, too many places fora maddeningly patient serial killer to hide…and wait…and strike.

©1994 Lawrence Block (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Profile Image for antonio
  • antonio
  • 13-09-14

One of Matt Scudder better stories...

I’ve read in “real time” all the Scudder’s books as they were published, but the pleasure to listen to listen to them few years later has not changed. In this story we find a Matt Scudder going trough a more settled period of his life (living with Elaine and working with TJ , almost like a “normal” detective). The plot is a more conventional of a mystery/thriller story –and a bit reminiscent of Agatha Christie. A group of young 31 "honorable" men engage themselves to meet every year –bound in a sort of life-long fraternity- until the last remaining member alone will be alive. After a few years one member suspects that too many of them are dying too young and in too large numbers. Scudder is hired to investigate and…..
This mystery has a pleasant pace with an intriguing scenario supported by great dialogue and interesting NY characters. A must read !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Richard Delman
  • Richard Delman
  • 29-08-19

Very good writing. Narration not so great.

This book centers on a clever idea known as the Club of 31. The Club is a secret group of men who essentially are watching each other to see who dies first. A bit ghoulish. When the membership gets down too low, like maybe in the low teens, key group members reach out and recruit possible new members. It's an interesting conceit. The book also wanders through the usual suspects in Matt Scudder's personal life: Mick Ballou, Elaine Mardell, TJ, Joe Durkin, Danny Boy Bell, etc. Elaine obviously holds our interest as Matt's long-time lover and partner and long-ago call girl. How Matt manages his internal voyage through her ex-profession is an interesting study in the male psyche. I do have to register a complaint. Writers know that each scene exists to push the plot forward. I am failing to see how many of these scenes are simply anything other than checking in with old friends. They do not advance the plot at all. Now Mr. Block has written about fifty novels, so who am I to quibble, but as a reader I have to say that this cycle repeats itself like a laundry machine, and it gets a little pointless. If all they are doing is supposedly building the tension for the grand reveal, then I find that hard to distinguish from padding. And to make matters worse, the large lumps of indigestible prose (thank you very much Tim Hallinan) that appear in order to cover all the bases near the end of the book: totally TMI, IMHO. I personally do not need to carefully wrap up each minor subplot. Lengthy explanations of these serve to almost completely undo the suspense that the author has carefully built up over the prior 300 pages.
Also, Joe Barrett is beginning to wear on me. He is very talented, but the director is clearly pushing him very hard to speed things up, and this is distracting rather than being any kind of stylistic addition. His voice by now has a lovely lived-in quality that comes with age and experience, but pushing things forward does not improve the book. Once again, I have to say, listen to the Grand Master, Frank Muller. His voice also was lived-in and comfortable, but his pacing was masterful. You felt the need to speed up and slow down. It's instinctive, I think. Just imagine how many audiobooks we could have had if Frank could have been allowed to live a normal lifespan. George Guidall is 80; I am 70; Frank died in his late fifties. Boo, frankly, hoo.

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Profile Image for Bonnie Faulkner
  • Bonnie Faulkner
  • 23-12-15

Couldn't listen............

What would have made A Long Line of Dead Men better?

I own this book and was looking forward hearing it - but the Mr. Barrett's voice was so annoying (no matter the speed or volume) that I'm deleting it. Love Lawrence Block, Love Scudder - won't be buying any more that are read by Joe Barrett, however.

Would you be willing to try another one of Joe Barrett’s performances?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ben B.
  • Ben B.
  • 07-12-17

My favorite Scudder to date (probably)

I have listened to the entire Scudder set to this point (plus a few others out of sequence) , and this is my favorite to this point in the series. Unlike the previous entry (The Devil Knows You're Dead), this one has a great plot and a compelling, almost eerie mystery that grabs the reader. I would compare it to other detective novels but that would comprise a spoiler.

Joe Barrett has really grown on me as a narrator, too.

My only complaint is that I didn't want it to end. Block wraps things up pretty quickly, when he could have prolonged the story for quite a while had he wanted to. But that "complaint" just indicates that I was having a good time with the book. Highly recommended.

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Profile Image for Sharon
  • Sharon
  • 18-01-15

Fantastic! First time to read a Block book

What made the experience of listening to A Long Line of Dead Men the most enjoyable?

Fascinating believable story! Narration superb. Joe Barrett's voice is welcoming and his accents subtle & spot on. One of those you didn't want to end.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Matt Scudder of course!
Not often that I read a book that references other books /ideas and I take the time to look them up. In this case a quick reference to "tontine" the idea and the old books made me look them up and want to read them too. Also logic game of the 3 Christians and 3 cannibals mentioned I wasn't familiar with and looked it up and tried to solve too.
The ending was creative/ Overall an engaging & satisfying - I"m off to read another of Blocks' books read by Barrett

What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

May just be the best narrator I've heard. Just love the tone of his voice, his accents are slight but all work.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes!