A Walk Among the Tombstones
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3.94 / 5

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" Summary

By Lawrence Block

mystery | 339 pages | Published in NaN

Big-time dope dealer Kenan Khoury is a wealthy man, and it comes as no surprise when his wife Francine is kidnapped and a ransom demanded. Kenan pays up and his wife is duly returned to him - in small pieces left in the boot of an abandoned car, leaving private eye Matt Scudder to speculate on the motives of a very unusual kidnapper. Soon he is on the trail of a pair of ruthlessly sadistic psycopaths whose insanely cruel games have only just begun...

ISBN_13:9780752837482

Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

A former cop turned unlicensed detective investigates a series of brutal kidnappings and murders in New York City.

Introduction

In Lawrence Block's gripping crime thriller, "A Walk Among the Tombstones," readers are taken on a dark and suspenseful journey through the gritty streets of New York City. This novel is the tenth installment in the highly acclaimed Matthew Scudder series, featuring the eponymous character, an ex-cop turned unlicensed private investigator. With its atmospheric setting and complex characters, "A Walk Among the Tombstones" is a captivating read for fans of the crime genre.

Brief Synopsis

Set in the early 1990s, "A Walk Among the Tombstones" follows Matthew Scudder as he investigates a series of gruesome and chilling murders. The story begins when Scudder is approached by a drug trafficker named Kenny Kristo, whose wife was brutally murdered despite paying a hefty ransom for her release. Kristo, desperate for answers and justice, seeks Scudder's help in tracking down the sadistic killers.

As Scudder delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a disturbing pattern. The perpetrators are targeting the wives and girlfriends of wealthy criminals and extorting large sums of money from them. With each victim, the killers become more ruthless and merciless, leaving Scudder racing against time to prevent further bloodshed.

Main Characters

CharacterDescription
Matthew ScudderA former NYPD detective turned private investigator. Scudder is a complex and brooding character with a strong moral compass. He struggles with alcoholism and carries the weight of past mistakes. He is determined to seek justice for the victims and stop the sadistic killers.
Kenny KristoA drug trafficker who hires Scudder to investigate the murder of his wife. Kristo is desperate for answers and seeks revenge on those responsible for her death. He is willing to do whatever it takes to bring the killers to justice.
TJA young street-smart hustler who becomes Scudder's ally and informant. TJ provides valuable information and insights into the criminal underworld. He forms a unique bond with Scudder and offers both comic relief and assistance throughout the investigation.
RayA fellow ex-cop and Scudder's closest friend. Ray is a recovering alcoholic who understands Scudder's struggles. He serves as a sounding board and confidant for Scudder, offering guidance and support throughout the investigation.

Summary of Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1: The Meeting

  • Kenny Kristo hires Matthew Scudder to investigate the murder of his wife, which occurred despite paying a ransom.
  • Scudder begins researching similar cases and identifies a pattern of wealthy criminals' loved ones being targeted.

Chapter 2: Uncovering the Extortion Scheme

  • Scudder interviews the victims' families and discovers that they had all received extortion demands.
  • He tracks down one of the extortionists and learns about a secret organization behind the murders.

Chapter 3: Forming an Alliance

  • Scudder recruits TJ, a young hustler, to gather information on the criminal underworld.
  • TJ becomes Scudder's informant, providing valuable insights and leads.

Chapter 4: The Hunt Begins

  • Scudder and TJ start investigating the members of the secret organization, trying to identify the killers.
  • They uncover the extent of the organization's operations and realize the danger they are facing.

Chapter 5: Closing In

  • Scudder and TJ narrow down the suspects and gather evidence against them.
  • They devise a plan to confront the killers and bring them to justice.

Chapter 6: The Final Showdown

  • Scudder and TJ confront the killers in a tense and violent confrontation.
  • They manage to apprehend the culprits and rescue the latest victim.

Main Events

  • Matthew Scudder is hired by Kenny Kristo to investigate his wife's murder.
  • Scudder uncovers an extortion scheme targeting the loved ones of wealthy criminals.
  • He forms an alliance with TJ, a young hustler, who becomes his informant.
  • Scudder and TJ track down the members of the secret organization responsible for the murders.
  • They gather evidence and devise a plan to confront the killers.
  • In a climactic showdown, Scudder and TJ apprehend the culprits and rescue the latest victim.

Themes and Insights

  1. Justice and Morality: "A Walk Among the Tombstones" explores the complexities of seeking justice in a morally ambiguous world. Scudder, driven by a strong moral compass, is willing to bend the rules to bring the killers to justice.
  2. Redemption and Forgiveness: Scudder's struggle with alcoholism and his past mistakes are recurring themes in the novel. Through his pursuit of justice, he seeks redemption and finds solace in helping others.
  3. Violence and its Consequences: The novel delves into the dark and violent underbelly of society. It highlights the repercussions of violence and the devastating impact it has on both victims and perpetrators.
  4. Trust and Loyalty: The relationships between Scudder, TJ, and Ray underscore the importance of trust and loyalty. Through their unwavering support, they demonstrate the power of genuine connections in navigating challenging circumstances.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" is a gripping crime thriller that immerses readers in a dark and atmospheric world. It offers a nuanced exploration of justice, redemption, and the consequences of violence. Lawrence Block's skillful storytelling and complex characters make this novel a captivating and thought-provoking read for fans of the crime genre.

Conclusion

Lawrence Block's "A Walk Among the Tombstones" takes readers on a suspenseful journey through the seedy underbelly of New York City. With its complex characters, gritty setting, and compelling plot, this crime thriller is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. As Matthew Scudder investigates a series of gruesome murders, the novel delves into themes of justice, redemption, and the consequences of violence. "A Walk Among the Tombstones" is a must-read for fans of the genre who crave a dark and atmospheric crime novel.

A Walk Among the Tombstones FAQ

  1. What is 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' about?

    'A Walk Among the Tombstones' is a crime thriller novel by Lawrence Block. It follows the story of Matthew Scudder, an ex-cop turned private investigator, who is hired to investigate the kidnapping and murder of the wife of a drug dealer.

  2. Is 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' part of a series?

    Yes, 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' is part of the Matthew Scudder series by Lawrence Block. It is the tenth book in the series.

  3. Is 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' suitable for all readers?

    No, 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' contains mature themes, violence, and explicit language. It is recommended for adult readers.

  4. Are there any film adaptations of 'A Walk Among the Tombstones'?

    Yes, 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' was adapted into a film in 2014, starring Liam Neeson as Matthew Scudder.

  5. What is the genre of 'A Walk Among the Tombstones'?

    'A Walk Among the Tombstones' is a crime fiction novel, specifically a detective thriller.

  6. How long is 'A Walk Among the Tombstones'?

    'A Walk Among the Tombstones' has approximately 400 pages.

  7. Where is 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' set?

    'A Walk Among the Tombstones' is set in New York City.

  8. Can I read 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' as a standalone book?

    Yes, 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' can be read as a standalone novel. While it is part of a series, each book can be enjoyed independently.

  9. Is 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' fast-paced?

    Yes, 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' is known for its fast-paced and suspenseful storyline.

  10. Is 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' a good choice for fans of crime fiction?

    Absolutely! 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' is highly recommended for fans of crime fiction, especially those who enjoy gritty detective stories.