The Sins of the Fathers – Lawrence Block (Dell Books, 1976)

Saw Eight Million Ways to Die the other night on cable, uncut, with a young Jeff Bridges playing Matthew Scudder.  Of course, the movie was unlike the novel, recasting Scudder as an ex-Los Angeles sheriff’s detective, making the title reference to a New York talk radio program, completely inane and meaningless.  Well, Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay, so…

Thought I’d go back to the first Scudder novel here, The Sins of the Fathers,  just a decade away from Block’s sleaze paperback career as Sheldon Lord, Jill Emerson, Andrew Shaw, etc. (tho he did do some 70s books as Emerson).  It’s not as griopping as later Scudder books, but does have some early Block elements with Greenwich Village life, hipsters, drugs and sex.  Scudder is a non-licensed “private eye” who handles people’s problems now and then. He’s hired to find out what really happened to a man’s daughter, who seemed to have gone on a violent rampage while on bad drugs, but thinks she was set up.

Mostly Scudder goes from one person to another, asking a lot of questions and acting cool and droll in that noir way.

An interesting book to read in the evolution of a great genre writer.

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