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    Review of ALL THE FLOWERS ARE DYING by Laurence Block


    William Morrow, March 2005

    Matthew Scudder has been sober for years now, has settled down and married, but he still attends his AA meetings, and still feels the attraction of alcohol. When a friend asks him to research her new boyfriend, Scudder discovers how easy it is to disappear in the big city. But then another friend is murdered and Scudder's discovery takes on a horrid new light. Someone is out there, hidden among the millions of New Yorkers--and whoever it is, they seem to have targetted Scudder or his wife.

    Arne Bodinson (or whatever his real name is) is just visiting Virginia to see a condemned man live out his last days on death row. Pretending to believe the man is innocent despite the evidence against him, Arne manages to have himself invited to the execution itself. It's just an added bit of pleasure for Bodinston--who set up the evidence just to show he could. And now he's on his way to New York where he has business to complete--business that has waited a long time.

    Author Laurence Block (see more reviews of novels by Block) makes his characters come to life. Both Scudder and Bodinson are intricately drawn, driven by their own demons, compelled by forces outside of their control. Bodinson thinks of himself as the perfect criminal, making sure he leaves no trace of evidence behind him even as he is driven to kill again and again. Scudder knows that alcohol is his downfall, but he still feels the lure despite his years of sobriety. Readers who have followed Scudder through the volumes know how thin is his layer of control.

    Block has written extensively on writing as well as writing a number of best-selling mysteries. His technical competence shines through his work, but it is his characters--especially his male characters--who really create interest.

    If you're looking for a solid mystery with a convincingly human but evil antagonist, ALL THE FLOWERS ARE DYING will be a treat.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 3/07/05

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