Books by Jack Hitt

Released: May 15, 2012

"A quirky approach to a fresh way of looking at the human animal."
A guide through the sometimes-consequential, sometimes-zany realm of amateurs. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

A smug travelogue through France and Spain. Hitt (The Perfect Murder, 1991), a contributing writer at Harper's, had dismissed religion in college as an irrelevance. Then, as he turned 35 and approached an early midlife crisis, he became attracted to the idea of a pilgrimage, which he saw simply as ``a guy out for some cosmically serious fresh air,'' as just ``a long walk.'' A trip to New York City's Cloisters and a spree at a camping outfitter sets him on his way. The destination of the pilgrimage is Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, one of the three great pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages (after Rome and Jerusalem), renowned as the burial place of the apostle James, who had come to evangelize Iberia. Hitt sets out to walk from France but quickly succumbs and takes a train and even a taxi. A stern encounter with an old woman who serves as gatekeeper of the pilgrims' route causes him to vow to be more resolute. He endures rain, cold, fatigue, and hunger. As he travels he encounters and falls in with others on the same path, eventually reaching his destination, leaner and older—but not necessarily wiser. He shares with readers the tales of his march and those he meets. He also includes much history and lore about the route and the age when millions traversed it. Tales of Roland, Charlemagne, Knights Templar, and the Holy Grail abound. He also chronicles the devastation of the Franco era and the country's recovery under King Juan Carlos. Though there is much of interest in both the journey and the telling, many readers will be put off by the author's self-indulgent tone. Read full book review >
Released: July 31, 1991

An amplified reprint from Harper's magazine in which editor/author Hitt, as the wealthy, unhappily married ``Tim,'' puckishly asked five mystery writers—Lawrence Block, Sarah Caudwell, Tony Hillerman, Peter Lovesey, and Donald Westlake—to suggest a fabulous, money-no-object, dramatic means of disposing of his philandering ``wife'' that would incriminate his cuckolding ``best friend.'' Surprisingly, Hitt turns out to be the best writer in the group, Westlake the flattest, and Hillerman and Lovesey the funniest. Their schemes? Lovesey resurrects his jellyfish-in-the- Jacuzzi scenario, which has appeared in at least three previous anthologies; Caudwell costumes hers in Scottish kilt and plaid; Block disguises his as a serial slaying (``Kill the bitch,'' he says, over and over); Hillerman opts for a confessional twist, a dunk in the tub, and poisoned mushrooms as well; and Westlake creates a double identity so that the murderer can be his own alibi. Then Hitt asks the authors to critique each other's schemes. They gleefully attack him and each other. A hilarious means of introducing readers to the mind-set of the hard-boiled, the cozy, the traditional, the antic, and the glib state of the current mystery masterminds, with Hillerman and Lovesey the standouts. Read full book review >