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HIT MAN by Lawrence Block

HIT MAN

By Lawrence Block

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-14179-X
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

For some years now, Block's been chronicling the adventures of fatalistic hired assassin J.P. Keller. Now Block (The Burglar in the Library, p. 912, etc.) has revised and collected ten stories showing Keller doing what he does best. As he sallies forth from his First Avenue apartment to one American city after another at the behest of the old man in White Plains, Keller ponders whether he can kill a man he's grown to like, mops up after hitting the wrong target, serves as cat's-paw for killers initially more clever than he is, and agonizes over which of two clients who've paid to have each other killed he's going to have to disappoint. In between his methodical executions, he also checks out real estate in Oregon, consults a therapist, takes up stamp collecting, wonders if learning more about flowers would enrich his life, buys earrings for the woman who walks his dog, and worries how much of a commitment he can make to either the woman or the dog. It's the combination of the many things Keller ruminates about and the many things he tries not to ("This is the wrong business for moral decisions," the old man's secretary admonishes him) that gives him his melancholy fascination. Is the result a novel or a cycle of stories? Block's ravenous fans--delighted to see at least three masterpieces ("Keller on Horseback," "Keller's Therapy", and "Keller in Shining Armor") gathered in one volume--won't care any more than Keller would.