cover image A Ticket to the Boneyard: A Matthew Scudder Novel

A Ticket to the Boneyard: A Matthew Scudder Novel

Lawrence Block. William Morrow & Company, $18.95 (302pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09070-8

This is as near perfect as a private-eye thriller can get. Block is the utter professional, a master who holds the reader in the palm of his hand for as long as the pages need to be turned. His hero is former cop Matthew Scudder, now coasting as a part-time investigator and faithfully attending AA meetings on the side. A former flame, a savvy call girl, tells him that a psycho who came into her life many years ago (and whom Scudder helped send to jail) is out and seeking revenge on both of them. A friend, a call girl gone straight, is killed along with her whole family in Ohio, and Scudder gets on the case, fighting for his own life and, as the killer's murderous capabilities become apparent, for the lives of everyone he knows. The New York settings are superbly authentic, the dialogue is hip, sometimes touching but never mawkish, and the resolution--after Scudder's old cop buddies decline involvement in what looks too much like a personal vendetta--is hair-raising. Almost anyone writing suspense fiction could learn a great deal from Block; and those in search of sophisticated thrills need look no further. BOMC alternate. (Sept.)