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Hit Man | [Lawrence Block]

Hit Man

Keller possesses all the qualities of a professional killer. He's cool, confident, reclusive, icy, and ruthlessly efficient. But this seasoned hit man is also prone to self-doubt as he finds himself caught in the clutches of a mid-life crisis.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: After hearing Robert Forster's narration, it would be hard to imagine anyone else playing Keller, the contract killer suffering a mid-life crisis. Forster manages to elicit empathy for a cold-blooded murderer, while perfectly capturing the wry wit of Lawrence Block's writing. —Steve Feldberg

Publisher's Summary

Keller possesses all the qualities of a professional killer. He's cool, confident, reclusive, icy, and ruthlessly efficient. But this seasoned hit man is also prone to self-doubt as he finds himself caught in the clutches of a mid-life crisis. Between contracts, he learns a few crucial truths about himself and the ways of the world he's become detached from, and winds up a wiser - if not better - man.

Copyright ©1998 by Lawrence Block; Copyright (P)1998 by Dove Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1371 )
5 star
 (453)
4 star
 (502)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (433 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (436 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (63)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Karen 08-11-08
    Karen 08-11-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    "Kellar is Killer!"

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Huntington Beach, CA, United States 03-21-08
    Mark Huntington Beach, CA, United States 03-21-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good fun"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maura fredericksburg, IN, USA 03-14-08
    Maura fredericksburg, IN, USA 03-14-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Never knew I could LOVE a"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lin Canby, OR, United States 09-18-04
    Lin Canby, OR, United States 09-18-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Hit Man is a Hit! Don't Miss This One!"

    This book has got to be the bargain of the year! Robert Forster's read was exceptional. I will look for other books read by him in the future. In "The Hit Man," Lawrence Block created a character that is both believable and surprisingly likeable. The casual, everyday approach to the subject of murder will surprise and entertain the reader. My only regret with this book is that it had to end!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 05-04-09
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 05-04-09 Member Since 2007

    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)

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    Overall
    "As long as you're not looking for a moral"

    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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 01-23-14
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 01-23-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "I do not enjoy watching murder of good/normal"

    people, but it kept my interest.

    The only reason I gave this 3 stars instead of 2 was because I did not feel I wanted it to be over. It kept my interest because I was waiting for something more. But by the end, more never came. The character does not change. And there is no overall plot. It is a series of short stories written for a magazine.

    It’s a different take on the work and life of a hit man. Some readers will find this humorous, but I did not. I was unsettled. In contrast I did enjoy two other series about anti-heroes: Dexter a serial killer, and Parker an armed robber who occasionally killed. The difference is Keller (in Hit Man) kills anyone including good guys. Dexter only kills bad guys. Parker robs anyone and occasionally kills bad guys .

    The author skips too many things. For example, Keller has a dog and lives with a girl. Then in one scene he says the girl left him a month ago and took the dog. I wanted to hear why the girl left him. It was not explained.

    Another example, Baskin pretends to be someone he is not and hires Keller to kill some people. There is a problem, so Keller needs to find Baskin. All of a sudden Keller is in Baskin’s house waiting for him. I never saw how Keller learned who Baskin was and how he found him.

    Another example, receptionist tells Keller to wait on the porch until boss is done with another meeting. Next sentence says twenty minutes later Keller is on a train returning home. I assume he met with the boss. I wanted to hear his conversation with the boss.

    I didn’t like those gaps. It felt like I was missing things.

    There were about three sex scene references, but no details. They were like “she took off her clothes.” Then it’s the next day.

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    Robert Forster was good. He used one of the Chicago-thug-type accents.

    Genre: crime fiction

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dumbclub Penland, NC USA 04-29-10
    dumbclub Penland, NC USA 04-29-10 Listener Since 2005

    Reader, Listener, Optimist

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    Overall
    "A charming executioner"

    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.



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mindusq san francisco 04-19-10
    mindusq san francisco 04-19-10 Member Since 2008

    Typical cat lady: lazy, sings off-key, craves spicy bloody marys.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Listened Three Times In A Row!"

    Great fun! The narration and writing are a perfect marriage of witty banter and a peek into the life of a professional assassin. Sophisticated and down-to-earth with real-world musings and mundane insights. A wonderful collection of tales attached to a string of hit man assignments that results in a little jewel of a novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Hudson, WI, United States 04-14-10
    Mark Hudson, WI, United States 04-14-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Better heard than read"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    00doc 11-17-09
    00doc 11-17-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to describe intertesting book."

    I kept waiting for a plot to develop. There was a bit of one - sort of. It mostly was a series of chapters where the hit man has to find a new and clever way to do his job. However,each time you do get a little deeper into his character. In the end a satisfying plot never really developed but somehow, in some way that is hard to explain, I did enjoy the book and looked forward to learning more about Keller. I think the writing was just so good that it made you want to listen despite the lack of action in the usual sense. The characters were well developed and the narration was perfect for the book. The moral dilemmas within the immoral actions were also interesting.

    I know this will come off as a mixed review, and I guess it is, bit I did rate it 4 stars, am glad I listened to it, and probably will buy at least one more sequel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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