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Editorial 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Sunshine
  • Sedona, AZ United States
  • 02-15-03

Surprisingly Terrific

Was sorry to see this one end. How the author wrote such a delightful story of a 'Hit Man' is amazing, but you will love this gentle character. Fast paced, filled with humor and pathos. A really great book.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Moire
  • Linden, VA, United States
  • 05-05-03

Perfect

A perfect marriage of the written and spoken word. Robert Forster's narration adds a new dimension to the characters that make up the ordinary life of "Hit Man", making the wry wit of Lawrence Block even more enjoyable.
Different from Block's Matt Scudder series or "The Burglar" books, this is nevertheless a true Block gem.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Character study & FUNNY

Killing is not the important part of this great collection of stories. The study of Keller's character is key to everything. Keller is first and foremost a mundane person who just happens to be a hitman. Most of the time he contemplates life, eats at boring cafes, collects stamps, watches tv and walks his dog. Occasionally Dot calls him to White Plains, where the two of them sip lemonade. The conversations between Dot and Keller are clever and insightful(you learn a lot about each character during these meetings.) Dot gives him his assignment, he flys to some city, carrys out the murder and returns to his boring life. Keller does a lot of sole searching in an attempt to justify why a person might need to die. He does this everytime he gets a job. Just listen carefully to Hitman and you really will see how much depth there is to Keller and Dot. Great fun.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not what you expect

I bought this audiobook because it sounded like a murder mystery, one of my favorite genres. But it's not. It's a human interest story about a guy who is a professional hit man (surprise!). I thought to myself: I'm not going to like this, but it turned out to be one of my favorite reads. The story is very original; the main character is engaging. It's interesting how you wind up liking a guy you don't approve of, probably because you perceive motives that you may either find inside yourself, or that you can at least understand and relate to.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bob
  • Seattle, WA, USA
  • 02-03-03

God Bless You, Robert Forster

I think that this is the first audio book that I've ever given five stars.

If you are a fan of detective fiction or suspense novels, you can purchase this book without worry. Well-written. Nicely paced. Extrememly well read. You'll wish that it was double the length.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Very Different Approach

Block breaks a ton of rules, especially for the subject matter. And he does it brilliantly. The story isn't so much about an assassin as it is about a man who kills for his day job. It might sound like semantics, but it makes for a very enjoyable change of pace. Sometimes, the author summarizes an action scene, to go into a very detailed internal monologue in Keller's head: he might be thinking of buying a house or taking up a hobby.

This is the sort of thing any teacher or book on writing will tell you not to do. The thing is, it works beautifully! Really.

The narrator does the best job for any audiobook I've ever read. I've listened to it twice, and will probably listen to it again. (Unusual for me and audiobooks.)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Simple old school writing

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

It was free, but worth a credit!

Several years ago Audible offered this as a free gift. It's read by Robert Forster, an actor I've always admired in film. It is worth a credit. I remember imagining Forster as the hitter. A fast read!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Surprising...

I ordered this book because I needed a relatively short listen and it was on sale. What a bargain I got. This is a very strange book that makes you think about ethics, morals, right and wrong in a little bit different light. The narrator is perfect for this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Hit again!

Excelent series of distinct episodes perfectly seamed together and revealing the personality of the main character thorugh its mood evolution, a likable, witty and funny person who happens to be a hit man. Superb narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful