Copyright ©1998 by Lawrence Block; Copyright (P)1998 by Dove Audio, Inc.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book, in part due to the actual story(s) and in part due to the excellent narration. In fact, without the right narrator, several stars could have been lost here! It's so enjoyable. Highly recommend!
I loved this book. It was not an action thriller like I figured but I loved the character and the narrator. The main character is a quirky hit man who faces comical moral dilemmas in carrying out his jobs.
This book was wonderful. Could not stop listening. With the narrators voice and the authors great writing I could see Keller in hs day to day activities of killing people. This is by far one of the best books I have listened to/read in a long time. This book is far from predictable. I am usually a murder medical mystery type of reader, so this was different from my usual. I could listen to a million books about Keller by Block.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
The narrator sounds exactly like what you'd expect Keller to sound like - he is perfect for the role.
I was very surprised at how much I liked this story. It is cheap in price and so I expected it to be cheap in other ways too, but it is not. It's not a mystery/thriller... and it's not much like a true crime novel either - it's sorta like a character study, except the character you're studying happens to be a contract killer. He isn't cruel at all, but also is not soft n' cuddly either.
The book does not explore the morals or reasons behind Keller's job, or even go much into details on how he kills (it's not gory at all)... it's more like an insight into some guy's mind that you would expect to be abnormal or exciting, or something, but turns out that he really isn't that much different from other people who don't happen to kill for a living.
I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the narration and would have paid way more for it than Audible charges.
I have always enjoyed Block. His style harks back to an era that championed character development, inner struggles, plots that were somewhat grounded in reality, and conversational dialog that helped push a story forward. Block is similar to authors like Ed McBain, MacDonald, and Elmore Leonard. You just can't find anyone under the age of 65 writing like this any more.
Block does not always hit a home run. And Hit Man is not his most amazing book or series character. I'm not sure if it was written like this, but you have to think that Block wrote 10 or so short stories using his character here and then strung them together to form this novel. The stories fit together nicely and Block manages to string along narratives which glues the resulting work into a cohesive body, but you could still take an individual chapter and present it as a stand alone story.
My primary fault is that the chapter/stories were all the same essentially. Things got a little repetitive. What I liked most here was that Hit Man was not about someone racing to save the world or someone with magical/superhuman abilities. Hit Man was about a simple man with simple tastes taking out people that in the grand scheme of things were small fish. So I liked how this novel was grounded in a semblance or reality. And I liked how Block took a page from McBain, having his character muse over universal questions as the stories unfolded.
If you have not read Block, I would suggest starting with his Matthew Scudder series from the beginning. The first five or six books there are better than any other suspense series I had read until Connelly's Bosch books surpassed it.
I am retired and I love having more time for audio books. I also enjoy hiking, birding, gardening, and genealogy.
Just a so so listen to pass the time on a long drive across the state. It kept me and my hubby listening, waiting for something more that never came. I liked the author's attempts at humor, he even made me chuckle a few times. But this novel was mainly anecdotes of the hits that were performed by a lackluster, emotionless, sometimes bored killer. I found it mildly interesting but something really bothers me about glorifying or normalizing the cold-blooded killing of total strangers. Why ever would anyone find that amusing, compelling or even humorous? At least Dexter went after the real bad guys . . . .
Narration was done well, so at least there was that.
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
I loved this book! I just finished reading Andrew Peterson's latest Nathan McBride (#4) installment "Ready a To Kill". I was mad as heck! No sniper action until the book was almost over! But THIS assassin, Keller, is just like I love my assassins: deadly, dour, and incredibly funny. Block weaves a great tale here with plenty of killings. Keller goes about his job as if he works at the post office. He tries to act heartless but he's a killer with a bit of a conscious. If not actually sorry for taking folks out, he yearns to own a house with a yard for a dog. To sit in front of the television, watching HBO and doing crossword puzzles. Or talking for a full 30 minutes on stamp collecting. Yet he is a deadly killer! A charming unassuming guy who gets his targets to trust him, even inviting Keller to dinner. Then.....WHAM! No one saw it coming! And his partner in crime, the assignment "scheduler", a woman named Dot is the perfect "Charley" to his "Angel". Narrator Robert Forster is the perfect choice - although the author steps in for the next book. I HATE IT WHEN AUTHORS READ THEIR WORKS! But we'll see......
Andrew Peterson needs to take a page from Block's play book. I want a book about assassins who complete their assignments satisfactory, quick, and efficient. Not a bunch of generic ex-CIA snipers whom Peterson failed to take the time to develop. Now I'm on to the next book in this outstanding series! Well played, Block!
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Okay, I admit it. I ALWAYS run out of credits. I buy more credits and still there's more month left. Last month I headed over to the "Under $10" list to see what I could find. I was looking for something - ANYTHING - that would tide me over until I got my real credits. I bought this one because it was cheap and sounded interesting.
I never would have guessed I'd end up really liking a hit man. I can see why the series is popular. It's so opposite of what I would have ever imagined.
I've been an Audible listener for years and never found this list until recently. If you ever find yourself wanting something cheap and listenable, this is a great list to peruse: http://www.audible.com/mt/Best_Under_10?page=1
Reader, Listener, Optimist
Robert Forster's gravelly, blue collar voice is perfect in his depiction of Keller, the low key, just-get-the-job-done assassin.
The book's title led me to believe that I might be in for a gritty tale of suspense, probably with a surprise ending or a moral dilemma. It's nothing like that! Instead I was treated to a look at the quirky life of an average professional business man, just doing his job. However, his assignments are never straightforward or predictable.
The author sends his character into odd situations where the contract kills are often open to interpretation or require adjustments. Keller the killer, has a dog; a girlfriend; a therapist; a sensible retirement plan; and when his work takes him to new places, he checks to see if there might be someone in the local phonebook that happens to share his name. He is a very likable hit man.
This is audio noir.
I had originally started reading this book, but something just didn't click for me and I put the book aside. Robert Forster (a great, underrated and underused Hollywood actor), does a phenomenal job with this book. His droll reading gives the character of the Hit Man a wry sense of humor and depth that makes you empathize with someone who, in the eyes of many, is a fairly unscrupulous character. I realize that this comes from the writing of Mr. Block, but it wasn't until I heard Mr. Forster's interpretation of the words that I could truly appreciate what the writer had intended. I can't recommend this audio book enough.
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