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Out on the Cutting Edge (Matthew Scudder) Mass Market Paperback – July 30, 2002

49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The prolific author's humanity and the immediacy of his understated style are again evidenced in his seventh mystery related by Matt Scudder: ex-NYPD officer, recovering alcoholic, and now private detective ( When the Sacred Gin Mill Closes , etc.). This novel opens with Matt looking for Paula Hoeldtke, an aspiring actress who disappeared a short time after she arrived in Manhattan from Muncie, Ind. In an unrelated case, Matt investigates the apparent suicide of a fellow AA member, Eddie Dunphy, and becomes the lover of Willa Rossiter, who manages the apartment house where Eddie lived. The affair flourishes despite warnings from his AA sponsor about an involvement with Willa, a heavy drinker. Matt ignores the advice, as he does the anonymous phone calls ordering him to quit asking questions about the missing girl and Eddie's death. In time, the dogged investigator uncovers the appalling facts that close both cases. In this riveting mystery, Block's artistry creates a full complement of fully realized characters, each a real person regardless of his or her perhaps tenuous connection to the plot.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A Powerhouse." -- -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"Realistic, Gripping and Poignant." -- -- Kansas City Star

"Superb....If You Haven't Been Introduced To Scudder Yet, Start Here." -- -- Chicago Tribune

Exceptional...A Whale Of A Knockout Punch To The Solar Plexus." -- -- New York Daily News
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Product Details

  • Series: Matthew Scudder (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (July 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380709937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380709939
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gary Jonas on May 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Matt Scudder is dealing with the day-in, day-out struggle to stay sober in the Big Apple. He has a case he doesn't have much hope of solving and he's got an AA acquaintance who wants Matt to sponsor him. Eddie Dunphy is a small-time crook, sober for a little over half a year. He has something he really wants to tell Matt, but before he gets a chance, he's found dead in his apartment--an apparent suicide.
It's an open and shut case, but Matt is obsessed with finding out whether or not Eddie died sober. Dead is dead, but if he stayed sober he won the war. Of course, he finds out Eddie was murdered and he also gets a lead on his original case just when he was ready to give up on it.
This book introduces a recurring character in the series: Mickey Ballou, known as the Butcher Boy. Mickey has a reputation. Folks believe he killed a man and carried the guy's head around in a bowling bag for a week, showing it off so people would know not to cross him.
The characters all grow and change over the course of the book. This is a terrific novel and a nice addition to the Scudder series.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on May 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Out on the Cutting Edge" follows the two best novels in the Matthew Scudder series, "8 Million Ways to Die" and "When the Sacred Ginmill Closes." It is also the first novel in which Scudder conducts a case (in this instance two cases) while not in an alcoholic stupor. We catch up with Scudder a few years after he joined AA. He has a sponser and has managed to recover control of his life. His day to day existence, meanwhile, hasn't changed much. He still lives in a residential hotel and still conducts cases off the books as "favors" for friends.
The two cases are interesting. One is for pay; a family wants to know the whereabouts of their missing daughter. One is personal; an AA companion apparently commits suicide just before he is ready to confess his sins to Scudder. Both take Scuder in some unlikely directions and the payoff is typically messy. Meanwhile, author Lawrence Block introduces one his most interesting side characters to the series, the Irish gangster Mickey Ballou. Overall, this is a solid Scudder novel that is not quite on par with the best of the series. But any Scudder novel makes for excellent reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Interesting depiction of the alcoholic detective, Matt Scudder, trying to solve cases while keeping his sobriety intact through Alcoholics
Anonymous.
Scudder is on a case involving a girl. a would-be
actress, missing in Manhattan for several months. The police can't help but Scudder has a way of spending time and foot leather that can come up with answers.
An AA friend suddenly dies and again Scudder
looks to see what the real situation is. On this
one he gets involved with a woman who tests
his sobriety.
Both cases fortuitously intertwine and Scudder has answers that he doesn't know what to do with.
The book shows a side of Manhattan seldom
mentioned in the papers, except when crime is
involved. It is a truthful and realistic telling
how people act basely
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harold L. Laroff on December 21, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Matthew Scudder is Lawrence Block's remarkable private investigator. He's a former NYPD detective who left the force after an accident left a child dead in a crossfire. But that was years and probably took place sometime in the past before the first Matt Scudder novel. "The Devil Knows You're Dead," is Block's 11th in the series. (As of this writing there are 13.) This is a fast paced story in which Scudder finds he is asked to solve the death of a Yuppie lawyer living in an area of Hell's Kitchen. Matt and his girlfriend Elaine spent an evening and Glenn Holtzmann, the lawyer, and his wife Lisa. From the beginning Matt doesn't like Glenn. Glenn is killed and a homeless vet is arrested and accused of the murdering Glenn. Scudder is asked to prove that the vet didn't do the crime by his brother. Of course one thing leads to another as the truth unfolds. The relationship between Elaine, Matt's girlfriend becomes more serious as they plan on buying an apartment together. TJ, the streetwise African-American teen is back assisting Scudder. As I have said in other reviews of Matt Scudder novels. They are like potato chips. You can't quit after one.
Matthew Scudder is Lawrence Block's remarkable private investigator. He's a former NYPD detective who left the force after an accident left a child dead in a crossfire. Because he is unlicensed you can't "hire" him. Instead he does you a favor by taking your case and solving the crime. In exchange for the favor the client returns the favor by giving him some cash. Scudder is recovering alcoholic. Scudder is hired to find a missing girl, a would be actress, who came to the Big Apple from the mid-west. When her parents fail at contacting her they find that Scudder may be the one to help.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 11, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Matt Scudder, ex-cop, ex-husband and father, unofficial private detective, and now a recovering alcoholic for several years (you're never "ex-"), takes on a commission for an Indiana auto dealer trying to discover what's become of his daughter. She came to New York to break into the acting world, and then disappeared. Shortly after starting his investigation -- which doesn't really go much of anywhere for some time, even though he's putting in the hours -- Scudder is approached by a guy from one of his many AA meetings who wants Scudder to help with the 5th Step: Confessing your sins. Matt agrees; it's what recovering drinkers do for each other, when they can. (Alcoholism and its effects is almost a character in this book in itself.) But then the guy turns up dead in his apartment, apparently of autoerotic asphyxiation. Matt, for whatever reason, doesn't like the look of this, and begins poking around. And then he becomes physically involved with the woman who manages the building where the man died, which is not going to take him where he hopes it will. Scudder lives in a rather gray world and that's certainly evident here. It's not a depressing story, exactly, but it's not what you could call an exciting read, however engrossing it may be. And the resolution of the first case definitely will give you the willies. This is also the book in which Scudder first makes the acquaintance of Mickey Ballou, the "Butcher Boy," a literally bloody-handed member of the underworld, with whom he bonds in an unlikely (but generally convincing) fashion. Not the best of the series but far from being the worst.
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