The conclusion of Hit and Run found Keller living in a big old house in post-Katrina New Orleans' Lower Garden District, with a new name (Nicholas Edwards), a new wife (Julia), a new career (rehabbing houses), and a baby on the way. It certainly looked as though he was done killing people for money. But old habits die hard, and when the economic downturn knocked out the construction business, a phone call from Dot draws him back into the old game. His work takes him to Dallas, to settle a domestic dispute; to Florida, where he joins a government witness on a West Indies cruise; to Wyoming, where a widow has her husband's stamp collection for sale; and to New York, where he lived for so many years, and where people might remember him.
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I have always marveled at Lawrence Block's ability to make reader's like, even love, Keller, a professional hit-man. Yet, Block has done that, through five books in this engaging, and educational, series.
Keller is living in forced retirement from the job of killing people. He has not trouble living an ordinary life, because Keller is, well, ordinary. He has a wife he loves, a daughter he adores and a passion for philately-collecting stamps. And here Block shows his brilliance at telling a story by making philately seem interesting. Amazing, I always thought it oddly boring. Anyway, Keller has been in the building trade in New Orleans but business has slowed. Keller is not really hurting for money. He spends his days with his family and his stamps. Then, unexpectedly, the phone rings. It is Dot, his former handler. The old banter of their long time friendship/partnership resumes. Listening to Dot and Keller talk is as entertaining as hearing Keller ruminate about stamps or how to kill his target. Dot and Keller pick up as if they had not been forced into early retirement. Keller is excellent at killing people, but not because he enjoys it, but because he has a certain work ethic Keller's wife is aware of what her husband does(he saved her life by killing a man and that's how they met) and she is fine with it. Keller accepts Dot's first assignment and just like that, he is killing again.
Don't pass this up, even if you have not read/heard the first four books. Hit Me can stand on its own. Not every series leaves me wanting more, much less praying for more. But I hope and pray for more Keller stories.
A man's got to do what a man's got to do..
I enjoyed the first Keller's stories. They are about the unusual character of a professional killer who spends most of his money in collecting rare stamps. Keller is after all a nice guy (well groomed and low profile), a gentle sociopath who does his job with the mix of duty and boredom of a bank clerk ..
This unusual setup and Laurence Block's good writing skills make Keller stories good for a while, but they clearly start getting repetitive .. It is difficult to add new dimensions to the main character or change credibly the routine of a professional killer... In this last book Keller is married (with a wife who knows of his profession and is also a "nice" sociopath") and tries to make killing a part-time job along with stamps dealing...It is getting boring.
Richard Poe does a great job and kept me awake...
Love thought provoking and well written mystery or suspense novels.
I am so glad that Lawrence returned to this series ! I thought that this series was way too short and that he could have gotten much more mileage out of it. As usual great writing and story development. The main character is so rich and ever developing. This is no exception to the series that has Block's normal great combination of mystery and humour. Wonderful as usual. In addition to being a great writer, Lawrence is a great narrator and I am glad he chooses to narrate his own work. I hope that the series continues....encore, encore.
This book is boring....so sad after the three previous Keller tales. The characterization of Keller's wife is beyond ridiculous, and the conversations between the two droned on and on with the most idiotic convolutions that I simply couldn't finish listening.
The tediousness of the conversations bored me to death....In the other Keller books, the conversations advanced the story, but, in this book, the dialogues simply made me irritated. The description of the various "hit man" episodes were so minimal that I finally almost fell asleep. In addition, I don't believe the relationship between Keller and Julie for one moment.....her silliness in devising situations to test Keller and her participation in the murder for hire were ridiculous. (I also found it interesting that, on the cruise, Julia and Keller didn't mention their daughter's existence or the fact that they'd left her behind....not normal for the devoted parents that they are portrayed to be.) Interestingly, the philately and the information surrounding Keller's hobby was fascinating and not at all tedious.
Richard Poe's ability is excellent...He doesn't attempt to change his voice or use falsetto for female characters, and, yet, I found it interesting that I never questioned the identity of any of the characters.
I was so excited that Block had finally released a new Keller book, and this was a huge disappointment. It's almost like he didn't have a good editor to help him with the pacing of this book. If this had been the first Keller I'd read, I would never have attempted another.
I enjoy the character of Keller. It is unusual to have a hitman as the hero of the book. I like all of his ruminating and he even made stamp collecting seem interesting. I also like his relationship with his wife and daughter.
I would compare it to the other books in the series. I would also compare it to Lawrence Block's burglar mysteries
I have listened to Richard Poe before. This is one of my favorite performances.
No. I wanted to make the book last more than one day.
Lawrence Block is one of my favorite authors. I have read all of the titles in each of his three series. I didn't think I would like the Keller books but now I highly recommend them.
I loved learning more about stamp collecting....I've never been into it, but it sure is a great way to learn about different countries. But for the most part, the story was pretty blah, which surprised me because I am such a huge fan of Lawrence Block. I think the main character is "tired." The worst part, however, is that every character in the book starts talking the same way. Kind of like a semi wise-guy clipped pattern. The only part of the book that I really got into was the very last "hit" and that ended abruptly. Finally a hit that seemed interesting, and then....nothing.
No. I love this genre, and every author can have a turkey.
Dot. The lady who hires the hitmen.
I was pretty much disappointed by the entire book. I usually check Amazon weekly to see if / when a new book by some of my favorite authors will be coming out, and was excited to see this one. Maybe if it were the first one I read I wouldn't be so disappointed, but I do think the others were much better.
I thought the Keller series ended with the last novel and I'm glad I was wrong. The cold quirky killer is back and I love it. Not your typical assassin novel. The story is more about the quirky views and habits of a almost lovable killer. Always fun.
As a big fan of Lawrence Block over the years, I was disappointed with this latest entry for the Keller character. I felt as though Mr. Block was just "mailing it in", so to speak, with this book. Very thin story line and a too-abrupt ending, although I guess you could describe the novel as "light-hearted" and mildly entertaining at times, I simply had higher expectations for this novel, especially after the previous Keller book (which was very good). Mr. Poe was fine as a narrator, although he did not have a lot to work with here.
Geez! I remember reading Lawrence Block as I walked to work at age 18. I got my first Social Security check this month, and have never been disappointed. Aside from one technical error (Keller left big evidence in one scene), another work of art. Great character -- give us one more, please, before you close him out. Thanks, Mr. Block, for your incredible, enormous body of work -- fiction, and writing about writing -- I hope all the later get "audiovised" also! You've been ahead of the pack since Day One, a real inspiration.
Good narration. Rather slow pace. Not too absorbing with a bit more focus on the stamps than on the action. Feels like a collection of short stories rather than a coherent whole.
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