I’ll be brief.I know, I know. I’ve said that before, haven’t I? But this time I’ve got only two things to tell you, and then I’ll leave you alone.

Defender of the Innocent by Lawrence BlockFirst I’ll tell you about Ehrengraf.

His name is Martin H. Ehrengraf. (The H stands for Harrod, like the London store. Or for Herod, the king in the Bible. Sources disagree.) He’s the dapper little lawyer who takes criminal cases on a contingency basis. He never loses a case, and hardly ever darkens a courtroom with his presence, as his clients always turn out to be innocent.

I’ve written a dozen stories about him since he first appeared in Ellery Queen some 37 years ago. The twelfth tale, “The Ehrengraf Fandango,” appears for the first time in a new collection, Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf, and the Publishers Weekly review is so heartwarming I wouldn’t dream of leaving out a word:

“The clients of Mephistophelean DA Martin Ehrengraf are always innocent, even when they recall committing murder, as shown in this collection of 12 dark, twisted tales from MWA Grand Master Block (Catch and Release). The urbane lawyer charges only if clients are exonerated—and they always are, though his hand is seldom seen. Apparent crimes of passion prove to be serial killings in “The Ehrengraf Defense,” which introduces the tie he wears to celebrate victories. Clients who try to renege on payment discover he’s a dangerous ally whose sinister ingenuity works as effectively against as for them, as miserly Millard Ravenstock learns in “The Ehrengraf Settlement.” In “The Ehrengraf Obligation,” the attorney represents penniless poet William Telliford, whose work he admires, but when freedom diminishes William’s creative output, the poet finds himself back in prison for murder. While Ehrengraf initially seems amoral, he follows his own code, far from socially sanctioned mores but sacred to him. Sophisticated, surprising, charming, and relentless, he’s a compelling antihero.”

The book’s coming in September from Subterranean Press—exclusively in hardcover, with cover art by Phil Parks. Subterranean’s productions are always outstanding, and the complete press run is not uncommonly outthewindowsold out before the book is off press. At $30, I don’t think these will be around for long. If you want to guarantee that you get a copy, your best bet is to pre-order it directly from the publisher.

You can go ahead and do that right now, if you’d like. I’ll wait.

Okay, that’s done. Now did you have something else? And how much is it gonna cost me?

I do, and curiously enough it won’t cost you a dime. It’s “Out the Window,” the first Matthew Scudder short story—although, properly speaking, it’s a little long for a short story, and might more properly be classified as a novelette. It was first published in 1977 in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and it’s appeared in various collections since then, most recently (and most notably) in The Night and the Music, my self-published collection of all eleven Scudder stories.

It’s also available singly, exclusively on Kindle, for $2.99. But right now and for the next five days it’s yours free. Just click to get it at the appropriate site: amazon.com   amazon.co.uk   amazon.de   amazon.fr   amazon.es   amazon.it   amazon.co.jp   amazon.in   amazon.ca   amazon.com.br   amazon.com.mx   amazon.com.au

Again, you can go ahead and grab it right now. I can wait.

That was pretty simple. Now what happens? I’m on some sucker list and I’ll be swamped with invitations to Matt Scudder benefit dinners? Because I just know you’ve got a motive, and it would almost have to be ulterior.

Well, sure. What other kind is there? It’s my hope that you’ll like the first story so much you want to read the other ten. While they’re available individually on Kindle, you’re much better off picking up the collection, The Night and the Music; it’s just $4.99, less than the price of two of the stories. (Or, for not too much more, you can put the handsome trade paperback on your shelf.)

For your convenience, there’s a link to the collection at the end of the free story. And there are individual links as well to the 17 Scudder novels, just in case there’s one you missed, or have been longing to awatt-tie-in 2read again. They’re all there, including A Walk Among the Tombstones—which, as you may possibly recall, has been filmed for September release with Liam Neeson as Matt.

And one more thing, before I forget:

There’ll be a paperback tie-in edition of AWATT, published by my good friends at Hard Case Crime, and featuring the movie poster on its cover. The release date is August 26, and if you don’t expect to be near an airport newsstand around that time, you can play it safe and pre-order it now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

A purist might contend that that’s three things, and I promised to limit myself to two. I’d apologize, or try to explain myself, but I’d only wind up taking still more of your time, and what’s the point of that?



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