Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

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A Walk Among the Tombstones is a Matthew Scudder movie from 2014.  Matthew Scudder is a character written by Lawrence Block that has been in one other movie and in 17 books.  This story comes from the 10th book in the series.  I’ve recently just read the first book in the series and reviewed it here:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/02/23/review-the-sins-of-the-fathers-by-lawrence-block/

Though I’ve only read one book and now seen this movie, I’m a big fan of Scudder and look forward to reading more of the books.  Liam Neeson plays Scudder, a recovering alcoholic, ex-police officer that isn’t a private detective, but does favors for people and for those favors, these people give Scudder gifts.

This film is written for the screen and directed by Scott Frank who also wrote and directed The Lookout.  He is also bringing another classic noir character to the screen soon, Hoke Mosely a character that has appeared in 5 books by Charles Willeford.  This story will be coming to the television screen instead of the big screen, but I still look forward to seeing it when it is released.  Frank has also written many other crime and neo-noir stories for the screen, he seems to have a good sense of taking a classic crime or noir novel and bringing it screen.

Some of the notable supporting cast is David Harbour, who often plays the creepy character, goes above and beyond in this film.  Dan Stevens plays a drug dealer/business type very well.  Stevens come onto my radar after his starring role in “The Guest.”  The Guest is a very fun movie that covers a lot of genres, if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it as well.  Ólafur Darri Ólafsson also plays a pretty creepy role that is a very interesting character.

So the story for this movie is a fellow AA member’s brother needs Scudder’s help.  Scudder meets with him and quickly figures out that he is a drug dealer.  This dealer has had his wife kidnapped and killed, but because he is a drug dealer he can not ask for the police’s help.  He asks Scudder for help and soon Scudder takes on the case.  The story takes off from there.  This is not only a neo-noir film in story, but is very much filmed in a classic noir style as well.  I really enjoyed this story and the visuals of the film. I really hope this is a new franchise for Liam Neeson now that Taken has run its course.  I would really look forward to seeing more movies with him as Scudder.  If you’re a Lawrence Block fan, or a Liam Neeson fan, or just a fan of a hardboiled tone, you will like this film.

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Review: The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block

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I have never read a Lawrence Block book and decided it was time to jump into the world of Block.  The Sins of the Fathers came up on my Nook one day for $0.99, it was a sign, time to start reading Block.  This is the book I always wanted to start with because the is the first in a series around the character Matthew Scudder.  This book was first published in 1976 and Scudder has been part of popular culture ever since, well maybe not popular culture but with the noir fanbase for sure.  17 books later and Scudder is still going strong.   Scudder has even appeared in two movies, 8 Million Ways to Die based on the 5th book in the series and A Walk Among the Tombstones based on the 10th book in the series.  I plan on watching Tombstone sometime soon and giving a review on this site.  I also plan to read the rest of these books and review them as I go.

Block is an amazing writer who has written over 100 books in his career and still going strong!  I look foreword to reading more from Block in the near future.

Scudder as a character is not all that original, Ex-cop who has a problem with alcohol and becomes a private detective.  Well Scudder isn’t exactly a private dick, he just does favors and gets tipped for those favors, who needs to get a licence and report income to the tax man.  He’s a hardboiled detective that has lost his family and has seen and done things that have scared him for life.  Though the profile of Scudder isn’t an original idea, he is well crafted and I love him.

This first story is about a young lady that was brutally murdered, and her male roommate is found outside the building covered in her blood, half-dressed and screaming obscenities.  The male roommate is later found in his cell, dead from hanging himself.  It’s an open and shut case as far as the police are concerned.

The parents of our dead young lady have lost track of their daughter and didn’t even know she was living in New York for sure. With over 3 years of no communication with their daughter, they want to know what she was doing in that time period and turn to Scudder for help.

This book shows Scudder as a fairly religious man, and lent itself nicely to this story. I hope this aspect is continued throughout this series.

Scudder isn’t investigation a murder mystery here, he is looking into this girls history and takes us along for the ride.  We have some dark stuff here, it is a very gritty and twisted adventure that you will enjoy.