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Summary

An MWA Grand Master tells it straight:

Fredric Brown: “When I read Murder Can Be Fun, I had a bottle of bourbon on the table and every time Brown’s hero took a drink, I had a snort myself. This is a hazardous undertaking when in the company of Brown’s characters, and, I’ve been given to understand, would have been just as dangerous around the author himself. By the time the book was finished, so was I.”

Raymond Chandler: “You have to wonder how he got it so right. He spent a lot of time in the house - working, reading, writing letters. He saw to his wife, who required a lot of attention in her later years. And when he did get out, you wouldn’t find him walking the mean streets. La Jolla, it must be noted, was never much for mean streets.”

Evan Hunter: “In his mid-70s, after a couple of heart attacks, an aneurysm, and a siege of cancer that had led to the removal of his larynx, Evan wrote Alice in Jeopardy. And went to work right away on Becca in Jeopardy, with every intention of working his way through the alphabet. Don’t you love it? Here’s a man with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, and he’s perfectly comfortable launching a 26 book series.”

Donald E. Westlake’s Memory: “Here’s the point: Don’s manuscript arrived, and we had dinner and put the kid to bed, and I started reading. And my wife went to bed, and I stayed up reading, and after a while I forgot I was having a heart attack, and just kept reading until I finished the book around dawn. And somewhere along the way I became aware that my friend Don, who’d written a couple of mysteries and some science fiction and his fair share of soft-core erotica, had just produced a great novel.”

Charles Willeford: “Can a self-diagnosed sociopath be at the same time an intensely moral person? Can one be a sociopath, virtually unaware of socially prescribed morality, and yet be consumed with the desire to do the right thing? That strikes me as a spot-on description of just about every character Willeford ever wrote. How could he come up with characters like that? My God, how could he help it?”

An MWA Grand Master and a multiple winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Maltese Falcon awards, Lawrence Block’s reflections and observations come from over a half century as a writer of bestselling crime fiction. Several of his novels have been filmed, most recently A Walk Among the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson. While he’s best known for his novels and short fiction, along with his books on the craft of writing, that's not all he’s written. The Crime of Our Lives collects his observations and personal reminiscences of the crime fiction field and some of its leading practitioners. He has a lot to say, and he says it here in convincing and entertaining fashion.
 

©2015 Lawrence Block (P)2019 Lawrence Block

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A surprise delight

At first glance, a collection of introductions to other authors" works might seem a rather dreary prospect, but Lawrence Block is a master wordsmith, and his eloquentl descriptions of authors he have known make me want to seek them out and get to know their books. I'm actually tempted to get a text version of this audiobook to use as a reference! The only slight drawback of this collection is the inevitable repetitions as some authors are revisited in different contexts.

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a master on his genre

Great to have Block's thoughts on crime fiction. I've picked up a lot of my favourite mysteries over the years from Block name dropping in his fiction. Listening to this thoroughly with a list pad and pen

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  • Peterack
  • 12-09-21

A Delightful Book on Mysteries.

The Crime of Our Lives presents a series of essays by Lawrence Block about his life, his friendships and mystery novels, their authors and even a literary agent.

Though I was not sure what I would discover in this audiobook I found within a delightful listen. Block, an author of many novels first talks about his life and how he discovered the genre. Subsequent chapters are essays that were previously published in forwards to an author’s work or a magazine article.

Because his core story does not change the audio reader will hear some repetition but that does not get in the way. The stories within about authors are wonderful. Block delivers information with relaxed humor which made me feel as if I was sitting with a friend who was telling me about what he loves.

Another plus to hearing this work is that I, who consider myself well read in the genre, is that it opened a door to authors whose writings I have not yet discovered.

The narrator of this audiobook, Richard M. Neer, reads the book effortlessly, making my ear believe I was hearing the author with his relaxed conversational style.

In summary, I absolutely loved The Crime of Our Lives. My guess is that If you enjoy Lawrence Block, or just like mystery stories or want to know more about what goes on in the lives of writers, than you will also enjoy this fine book!

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  • Matt Coffey
  • 20-07-20

A good choice for those interested in American crime fiction


A collection of Block’s writing on deceased crime writers and crime fiction as a whole, The Crime of Our Lives is a solid compendium worth the time. His entries are reverential and those devoted to his friends, particularly Donald Westlake, are fantastic. If you haven’t read anything by these authors or if you haven’t recently, this book will probably insist upon your mind until you do. I listened to the audiobook and can tell you that Richard Neer is a good proxy for Block, and his voice lends itself well to the material. Given the material and the narrator, Crime of Our Lives is an enjoyably relaxing listen that just might send you to the bookshelf.