Hit List by Lawrence Block

From hard-boiled private eye to burglar-turned-sleuth, Lawrence Block can enchant all varieties of mystery lovers.

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Hit List by Lawrence Block


  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.03 x 6.78 x 4.22
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; (February 5, 2002)
  • ISBN: 0061030996

    Few mystery authors have a stable of protagonists as uniformly appealing as Lawrence Block's. Whether Block's taking the reader into PI Matthew Scudder's world of dimly lit bars and basement AA meetings, quirky burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr's used bookstore, or the international hot-spot hangouts of Evan Tanner, the spy who never sleeps, he always provides good company. John Keller, star of Block's 1998 story collection
    Hit Man, is a typical Block invention: an unassuming, get-the-job-done-and-move-on New York contract killer who collects stamps, does the morning crossword, eats Vietnamese takeout, and falls for the occasional woman.

    When Keller gets off a plane in Louisville, ready to do the job he's been hired for, something about it feels wrong from the start. And when two people are killed in the motel room he's just vacated, he realizes he narrowly missed a setup, but can't figure out why. Then he goes to Boston to do another job, and afterwards dines in a coffee shop where another patron has the misfortune of leaving with Keller's raincoat:

    The Globe didn't have it. But there it was in the Herald, a small story on a back page, a man found dead on Boston Common, shot twice in the head with a small-caliber weapon.

    Keller could picture the poor bastard, lying face-down on the grass, the rain washing relentlessly down on him. He could picture the dead man's coat, too. The Herald didn't say anything about a coat, but that didn't matter. Keller could picture it all the same.

    Keller's agent, Dot, puts the pieces--including the death of another contract killer she books occasionally--together and comes up with the seemingly crazy idea that a greedy hit man is knocking off the competition. In between other legit hits, romancing a commitment-shy artist, visiting an astrologer, and a long stint on jury duty, Keller slowly moves closer to the faceless nemesis he and Dot dub "Roger." But it's Dot, the woman of action, who figures out what to do about him. Though Hit List is too introspective to be a caper novel, and too funny to be noir, it's bound to find a rapt audience with fans of both subgenres. After two such engaging books, can Hit Parade be far behind? --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    Reader Reviews
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Still Love Keller...but he has a case of the "slows", July 12, 2003 Reviewer: Rob Wellen from Chicago, IL USA When Abraham Lincoln fired General McClellan, he gave the the general the boot because he had a "case of the slows." Well, Abe might say the say the say about Block's book. It was not a bad book by any stretch. It was good, but not much happened (which, I will grant is much of Keller's life when he is not working). However, the goofy and sarcastic conversations with Dot were too long. Also, the ending was totally out there. Still, there is a charm to Keller and I was pulling for him. The strengths of "Hit Man" were not totally in evidence and in the end,the book had the slows. Still, I love Keller hope there is a new novel about him soon. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition

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