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Monday, January 12, 2015

Out on the Cutting Edge by Lawrence Block

Two for the price of one, although the investigation into Eddie’s death has more coincidence and serendipity than one would like.  Then again, serendipity had much to do with the rationale for Paula’s death.

Matt’s looking for Paula. Referred to by a local cop, Matt is “hired” by her father to find her. She has disappeared with no trace.  She’s 24 and Matt put her picture on the back of his business card.  That often leads to wiseacres calling and asking for money in return for information when all they really have is a knife waiting for Matt’s ribs. But it also serendipitously leads to the solution.  Simultaneously, Matt becomes concerned about a fellow AA member who had befriended him and had said he had something on his mind he needed to unload since expiation was considered important as one of the steps in the Twelve-step program.  (We learn a lot about AA -- probably a little more than necessary, but it was a bit interesting and certainly part of Block’s style for the Scudder books.)  Eddie didn’t show for their rendezvous and is now missing.  

The book was originally published in the eighties, a time of transition for the area of New York known as Hell’s Kitchen.  It had been known as a very undesirable place, but that was changing.  The change becomes part of the solution to Eddie’s death.

Compelling reading in Block’s inimitable style.

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