Action Lawrence Block Hit List

ISBN 13: 9780060199111

Hit List

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9780060199111: Hit List

Keller is a regular guy, a solid citizen. He goes to the movies, watches the tube, browses the art galleries, and works diligently on his stamp collection. But every now and then a call from the breezily efficient Dot sends him off to kill a total stranger. He takes a plane, rents a car, finds a hotel room, and gets back before the body is cold.

He's a real pro, cool and dispassionate and very good at what he does. Until one day when Dot breaks her own rule and books him for a hit in New York, his home base. She sends him to an art gallery opening, and the girl he gets lucky with steers him to an astrologer.

Then the jobs start to go wrong. Targets die before he can draw a bead on them. The realization is slow in coming, but there's no getting around it: Somebody out there is trying to hit the hit man. Keller, God help him has found his way onto somebody else's hit list.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Lawrence Block is one of the most widely recognized names in the mystery genre. He has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. He received the Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association—only the third American to be given this award. He is a prolific author, having written more than fifty books and numerous short stories, and is a devoted New Yorker and an enthusiastic global traveler.

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