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‘Eight Million Ways to Die’ (review)

Adapted and Illustrated by John K. Snyder
Based on the novel by Lawrence Block
Published by IDW Publishing

 

I first became aware of the Matt Scudder character and this novel from the 1986 film of the same name (written by Oliver Stone and directed by the legendary Hal Ashby). I have always heard how the film fell short of the novel. Now, upon reading this, I can see what they are talking about.

The story is so strong that I literally could not put this down. It’s a book that you need to own.

The book focuses on a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy named Matt Scudder who is an alcoholic.

He takes part in a drug bust that results in a dealer getting shot in front of his wife and kids.

This incident pushes Scudder over the edge and he ends up in a drunk ward.

He tries to clean himself up. He goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and still can’t get it together.

After one of the meetings, a woman hands Scudder a note that leads him to a gambling club led by Chance Walker. At the club, he meets an array of underworld type of characters.

He also meets Sunny there, a call girl who goes home with Scudder and pleads for him to help her. She pays him money but Sunny is killed anyway. This sends Scudder off the deep end. He wakes up in a drunk ward. And he may have been framed for Sunny’s murder.

And that’s when Scudder has to try to get it together and save his own life.

The writing is tense. Snyder has the character down cold and it’s really a nice adaptation. Watching Scudder suffer is very hard and Snyder is unforgiving in his portrayal of an alcoholic.

The art is amazing as well. Snyder is one of those artists you always want more work from so it’s nice to have a full book like this coming out.

I miss the Darwyn Cooke Parker adaptations. They always brought a smile to my face.

Now that he’s gone, maybe Snyder can do more of these. Maybe it it can help fill the void. This a truly excellent book. Let’s have some more. Well done.

RATING: A

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