Keller is friendly. Industrious. A bit lonely, sometimes. If it wasn't for the fact that he kills people for a living, he'd be just your average Joe. The inconvenient wife, the troublesome sports star, the greedy business partner, the vicious dog, he'll take care of them all, quietly and efficiently. If the price is right.
Like the rest of us, Keller's starting to worry about his retirement. After all, he's not getting any younger. (His victims, on the other hand, aren't getting any older.) So he contacts his "booking agent," Dot, up in White Plains, and tells her to keep the hits coming. He'll take any job, anywhere. His nest egg needs fattening up.
Of course, being less choosy means taking greater risks—and that could buy Keller some big trouble. Then again, in this game, there are plenty of opportunities for some inventive improvisation . . . and a determined self-motivator can make a killing.
From Publishers Weekly
Block's assassin, John Keller (Hit Man; Hit List), returns in these loosely linked, well-crafted vignettes of the protagonist on assignment, blithely but expertly eliminating a grab bag of targets: a philandering pro baseball player, a jockey in a fixed horse race, two women who hire him to put down a neighbor's dog, a Cuban exile and more. Manhattan-based Keller works through his agent, Dot, who assigns murders from her home just north in White Plains.Keller, a loner by temperament and trade, has an easy camaraderie with Dot. The two entrepreneurial colleagues strike a casual tone in conversation—but they're discussing death (sometimes in gory detail). With dry wit, Block tracks the pursuits of the morally ambiguous Keller, who hunts rare, pricey stamps for his extensive collection when he's not "taking care of business." Four-time Shamus- and Edgar-winner Block has the reader queasily rooting for the killer as well as the victims, unsettling the usual point of identification and assumptions about right and wrong. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keller is a hit man. Like all careers, it has its challenges, some imposed by circumstance, others generated by introspection. For example, Keller accepts a contract on an aging baseball star. The job will be easy, but Keller complicates it with reasons that can only be categorized as "inside baseball." There's another job in which he's assigned to kill a jockey, but only if the man wins a fixed race. Since Keller is all about the money, he figures a way to turn the situation into a win-win for himself. He also ponders a retirement in which he will abandon his Manhattan lifestyle for a trailer in the southwestern desert. Block, the best-selling author of the Matt Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr series, indulges himself when he dusts off Keller. The humor is even more deadpan than usual, and the vignettes (Keller working as a food-service volunteer after 9/11) are quirky diversions. Oddly, Keller the hit man is also a kind of everyman, pondering such universal questions as, Does this assignment compromise my ethics? Will I ever get another job? Block's legion of fans will savor his subtle wit, his consummate narrative skills, and his idiosyncratic method of celebrating the lives of working folks in America. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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