Now, as a middle-aged (plus) man, I’m seeing the books in a whole new light. The plots (while all still terrific), seem less important to me than this detective’s remarkable journey. They’re catalysts for Matt (and Mr. Block) to explore themes of addiction, obsession, perversion, corruption, hatred, violence, loss, age, and death, from the perspective of a man who never stops evolving–as a detective, as a recovering alcoholic, as a lover. Don’t get me wrong; these are still damned fine stories, with well-constructed and suspenseful plots that are seamlessly and perfectly married to the deeper explorations of life (as it should be in all great mysteries). Mr. Block never misses a step.
Lastly, reading them again, one after the other (the literary equivalent of binge-watching a really great TV series), keeps each tale fresh in my mind as I take the next part of the journey with Matt, making that adventure all the more rewarding. If you’ve never read these wonderful books and you love detective fiction, they are a must. If you have read them, maybe way back when, then do yourself a favor: pick up The Sins of the Fathers and start all over again. You’ll be glad you did. When you get to A Drop of the Hard Stuff, you’ll feel you’ve lived someone else’s life. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a better understanding of your own, because of it.