Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Larry Block’s retirement has been somewhat exaggerated

Last time I saw Larry Block was when we all gave him a standing ovation at Bouchercon 2008 in Baltimore, where he was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the crime / mystery genre. To list all his accolades would fill this page ten-fold, for Lawrence Block has had all the awards that litter the genre, including recognition from the industry associations such as PWA [Private Eye Writers of America], MWA [Mystery Writers of America] and the [Crime Writers Association] CWA.

So with his ‘A Drop Of The Hard Stuff’ unleashed this month in the UK from Orion Publishing and Hardcase Crime / Titan Books “Getting Off” in February 2012, and now we have a long awaited collection of Matt Scudder stories ‘The Night and the Music’ – so Larry Block’s retirement has been somewhat exaggerated.

I received this note from Larry Block which I’d like to share -

I've been writing novels about Matt Scudder since the early 1970s, and he's turned up in novelettes and short stories for almost as long. THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC contains the nine stories I've published over the years, along with two new ones; "Mick Ballou Looks at the Blank Screen" appeared only as the text of a 100-copy limited broadside, while the elegiac "One Last Night at Grogan's" was written this summer, specifically for inclusion in this volume, and has been published nowhere else.

When I told my friend Brian Koppelman about the book, he immediately volunteered to write an introduction. Brian's a screenwriter and director ("Rounders," "Knockaround Guys," "Solitary Man," Ocean's Thirteen"), and I think you'll be touched by his account of discovering Scudder at age 15. I know I was. And the book closes with (what else?) an author's afterword, detailing some of the circumstances of the writing and publication of each story. I'm genuinely excited about this book, not least of all because I'm publishing it myself.

The good people at Telemachus Press have done the heavy lifting, making sure it's perfectly formatted and professionally put together, but it's my baby. It's available as an eBook, for sale on all major platforms: Kindle, Nook, Apple, and all those served by Smashwords. The eBook price is $2.99. It's also offered as a Print-on-Demand paperback @ $14.95. A handful of select mystery booksellers will be able to furnish signed copies, and I'll also offer signed copies at my website bookstore.

Otto Penzler loved the book, and he'll be doing it proud, with one of his deluxe leather-bound hardcover first editions, limited to100 signed and numbered copies, for sale (while they last) @ $150. When I read THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC all the way through, it struck me that it's very much of a piece with the seventeen novels, so that it could fairly be considered the eighteenth book in the series—one I began writing in the mid-1970s and just completed this summer. Because "One Last Night at Grogan's" brings Scudder's story up to date, one might see it as a coda to the series. Will there be more stories? More novels? I really don't know. It's never been given to me to know what I'm going to write next, and the several times I thought I was done telling Matt's story I turned out to be (like Bogart in Casablanca) misinformed. So we'll have to let time tell.

If you are new to Lawrence Block, you have a lot of catching up to do, but you have some wonderful novels and stories to look forward to all from a legend in the crime / mystery genre.

More Information from -

Incidentally Brian Koppelman writes with fellow screenwriter and PWA Shamus Nominated author David Levien [‘City of the Sun’ and ‘Where the Dead Lay’]has his third Frank Behr Investigation on the bookshelves now entitled “The 13 Million Dollar Pop

Photo © 2008 Ali Karim “Lawrence Block and Justin Scott at the PWA Shamus Awards held at Westminster Hall Baltimore"

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