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Extended Audio Sample A Drop of the Hard Stuff: A Matthew Scudder Novel Audiobook, by Lawrence Block Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,315 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lawrence Block Narrator: Tom Stechschulte Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Matthew Scudder Series Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9781461803874
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Lawrence Block, New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author, has been named a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master. A Drop of the Hard Stuff continues Block’s popular series starring New York private detective and recovering alcoholic Matthew Scudder.

Facing his demons in his first year of sobriety, Matthew Scudder finds himself on the trail of a killer. When Scudder’s childhood friend Jack Ellery is murdered, presumably while attempting to atone for past sins, Scudder reluctantly begins his own investigation with just one lead: Ellery’s Alcoholics Anonymous list of people he wronged. One of them may be a killer—but that’s not necessarily Scudder’s greatest danger. Immersing himself in Ellery’s world may lead him right back to the bar stool.

In a novel widely celebrated by critics and readers, Lawrence Block circles back to how it all began, re-establishing the Matthew Scudder series as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A Drop of the Hard Stuff is a wise and fascinating addition to the Matthew Scudder canon. It could not be more welcome, nor could it have been written with more understated craftsmanship. The dialogue sounds exactly like things people say to each other, but it isn’t. It’s better, quicker, smarter. Read this book attentively. It’s much more fun than taking lessons.”

    Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Mesmerizing…A lament for all the old familiar things that are now almost lost, almost forgotten.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Totally gripping…A great American crime novel.” 

    Time

  • “Block has so perfected a pared-down, hard-boiled style that this story—about good intentions that backfire, fatally—seems to tell itself.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Right up there with Mr. Block’s best…A Drop of the Hard Stuff keeps us guessing.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • A 2011 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, May 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tyler | 2/17/2014

    " it was a good ending.. very AA based.. and made me want coffee real bad "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/15/2014

    " A melancholy but moving mystery, a tale full of loss and sadness and aching, empty hearts. Masterfully told. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miriam | 2/9/2014

    " Matthew Scudder is such a great character and it's always fun to go back to a seminal moment in a character's life to see where it all came from. That is what A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF is. Set in the early 80's, right after Scudder became sober, he is on the hunt for the killer of a long-lost friend who Scudder suspects was killed because he was following the rules of AA to the letter. What's also fun about this story is its setting--no cell phones, no computers, no Metro Cards--I felt nostalgic but also glad that my pockets aren't laden down with quarters and tokens. Block is a great writer and this is really a stellar piece of his work. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Squeaky | 1/30/2014

    " Lawrence Block is such an excellent writer! I enjoyed this Matthew Scudder story very much. His books are among the first I listed in my Books Read list, way back in 1998. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gillian Stern | 1/28/2014

    " Good, noir-ish mystery, set in NYC, in and around the world of AA. Well written and carried me along. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meg | 1/24/2014

    " Fast paced, good story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barrie | 1/17/2014

    " Enjoyable read, and a good look into the AA steps. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julie | 1/10/2014

    " It was okay. Not sure what I was expecting but just wasn't that great. Typical mystery novel but not very engaging and formulaic writing. I won't be reading any others by this guy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 BaiLing | 12/26/2013

    " Want to find its English copy to read... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 11/24/2013

    " A good read overall. I thought it dragged a bit at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Russ | 11/20/2013

    " Great characters, interesting story, not very satisfying ending. Still well worth the effort though it might make you want to take a drink. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Juliet Roberts | 11/19/2013

    " I don't really like these types of books to begin with----police detective crime novels, but this one was the worst. Basically it read like an oversized AA pamphlet. I have never wanted a drink more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dennis R. | 10/24/2013

    " Very good book Matt Scudder is so fully developed that you feel like you're walking down the street with him, sitting with him in AA meetings and sharing his daily struggle to stay sober. The dialogue is right on and the end is impossible to see coming, though it makes perfect sense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Temple | 9/20/2013

    " I gave this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed it and I can't believe this was my first Lawrence Block novel. There will be many more. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tim | 9/20/2013

    " Very best way to sum up this novel is depressing in spite of the fact the main character manages to stay sober for a year. Congrats on that, but the rest of the novel takes a bender. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 7/11/2013

    " First time I've read Lawrence Block. I doubt I'll read another of his. A lot about alcoholics and AA. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Norma | 7/8/2013

    " My first Matthew Scudder/Lawrence Block mystery. Very New York. Very Alcoholics Anonymous. The murders are solved by the book's end but I leave it to other readers to decide if justice was served. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sluggish Neko | 6/21/2013

    " I'm not familiar with the Matthew Scudder novels, but I thought it a good, solid detective story. What sets this book apart is its detailed descriptions of AA and what it's like to be a recovering alcoholic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emilie Leming | 5/20/2013

    " Given the fact that this is not normally my genre of choice I found that I very much enjoyed this author... may even read more of the Matthew Scudder series. Well written & dare I say, inspirational? Give this guy a shot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonia | 2/26/2013

    " Easy read. Finished it in a day. Interesting peek into the world of AA. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jimmer | 12/28/2011

    " A leisurely paced whodunit. The backdrop of AA recovery is an interesting setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam Hegg | 11/15/2011

    " okay. this is written just for me. Crime story plus recovery story. Double win. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandi | 10/25/2011

    " Vintage Matt Scudder. Set during the early eighties when Matt was still trying to make it through his first year of sobriety the plot, setting, and characterizations were all up to the standards of the best books in the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne | 6/18/2011

    " If you like Matthew Scudder novels, this one is excellent. It is really good if you have never read Lawrence Block, either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelsey | 6/16/2011

    " I am always a sucker for a good murder mystery, but what I enjoyed about this book is that the story is more about the struggle with alcoholism, rather than the murder. Sure, the stories are interwoven, but the predominant theme is overcoming the struggle, one day at a time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 6/10/2011

    " One of Lawrence Block's better Matthew Scudder books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barrie | 6/8/2011

    " Enjoyable read, and a good look into the AA steps. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 6/7/2011

    " Very good New York P.I. Novel
    Main character in the final days of his first year sober/attending AA. Written with great empathy for all, perps, victims, cops alike. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 6/3/2011

    " he's a dependable guy-when in doubt, i can always grab a "block" and be entertained! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee | 6/1/2011

    " Great book. My only criticism is it is a flashback, so the characters that I have grown attached too, don't appear in this one. So, a word of warning to those that like to follow a series, this would better serve as number 0 in the Matt Scudder series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 5/31/2011

    " Block rarely disappoints. He is another of my favorite authors. "

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About the Author
Author Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block is the recipient of a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and a New York Times bestselling author. His prolific career spans over one hundred books, including four bestselling series and dozens of short stories and articles. He has won multiple Edgar and Shamus awards, two Falcon Awards from the Maltese Falcon Society of Japan, the Nero and Philip Marlowe Awards, the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association of America, and many others. Aside from being a mystery writer, he has also written a number of episodes for television, including two episodes of the ESPN series Tilt; he also cowrote the screenplay for the film My Blueberry Nights, starring Norah Jones. Block currently lives in New York City with his wife, Lynne.

About the Narrator

Tom Stechschulte has narrated well over a hundred audiobooks and has won sixteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. He won the prestigious Audie Award in 2009 and has been a finalist for the Audie in 2005 and 2011. As an actor, he has been seen in eleven Broadway shows as well as numerous television and film shows, including the remake of The Manchurian Candidate.