Eight Million Ways to Die Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Eight Million Ways to Die

Kim Dakkinen, a high-priced prostitute wants out. She hires Matthew Scudder, a policeman turned private detective, to tell her pimp, Chance, that she's leaving. Kim says she's afraid that Chance will persuade her to stay if she faces him.
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Matt taps his street sources and checks the bars, but finding Chance proves to be a job in itself. When he runs him down, Chance tells Matt Kim wasted her money – he would never hold a girl against her will. In fact, Chance has six women. He provides an apartment, clothing, food and all their necessities and keeps all their earnings. He's sophisticated, well dressed and a patron of the arts. He does not fit anyone's stereotype of a pimp.
Matt collects his fee, plus a bonus, and heads for one of his daily Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. But the next day he reads that a call girl has been “cut to ribbons,” and it turns out to be Kim. Matt, after eight days of sobriety, gives in to the urge to drink. He keeps his drinking to two a day for a short time, then has a blackout and winds up in the hospital.
Matt is sure Chance is the killer, but Chance wants to hire Matt to prove he is not. A high-class pimp, he runs high-class girls. There's a poet, an artist, a lover of classical music. Chance himself is a connoisseur of African art, and much of his money goes to his collection.
The murder looks like the work of a crazed serial killer, but Matt is searching for other possibilities. Among his clues are Kim's expensive fur coat and emerald ring, which Chance tells Matt he did not buy for her. Matt hopes that tracing these items might lead to Kim's killer.
Then a young hoodlum attacks Matt, apparently a mugger. Matt fights him off and keeps the gun he's been threatened with. The next night, as Matt leaves an AA meeting he's warned to stay off the case by a man who knows about the mugger Matt beat up.
With every reason to want a drink, Matt keeps fighting to stay sober.
Then another one of Chance's hookers, Sunny, commits suicide. A transsexual prostitute, not apparently connected with this case, is slashed in a Queens motel. The wounds are similar to Kim's. Yet, after the threats and the disappearance of Kim's emerald ring, Matt is reluctant to believe the killer is crazy.
But as Matt gets closer to figuring out who the killer is, he knows he's also closer to being the next victim.

The review of this Book prepared by David Gordon

Unofficial private detective Matthew Scudder is hired by a high-price hooker to 'get her out of the life'. When she's killed soon after he assures her that she'll be safe from her pimp, Scudder is hired to find the culprit responsible, while at the same time waging a horrendous fight with his alcoholism.
The review of this Book prepared by Jack Sommersby

Chapter Analysis of Eight Million Ways to Die

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 40%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical    -   very upbeat    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Murder of certain profession?    -   prostitutes/stripper/porn Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   killer purposefully leaves puzzle clues    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   actual description of sex Unusual forms of death    -   diced Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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