Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Introducing a Professional Assassin

Author Lawrence Block

I am moving on from children detectives (here and here). For something completely different, I downloaded from the library's ebook collection Hit Man by Lawrence Block. 

Mr. Block is probably best known for his characters Bernie Rodenbarr, professional burglar, and Matthew Scudder, private investigator. I have read a few books featuring these two fellows.

In Hit Man (1998) the reader meets Block's professional assassin John Paul Keller (known simply as Keller) who, when he is not tracking down his target, daydreams, collects stamps, and sees a therapist. Not at all what one might expect from a trained killer.

Keller is introduced here in a series of episodes that find him traveling from his home base in New York to pretty little towns that set him to wondering what his life would be like if he left the profession and moved into one of the town's nice neighborhoods. But he doesn't wonder for long as he needs to get the job done.

I like the episodic style of this book. Perfect for bedtime reading. There are four more in the series and only one is a full-length novel which I read many years ago. 

In many of Block's books there is a sense of comedy although it's pretty black in this case. But the killings are quick and the puzzles as to why and who Keller's next target will be are inventive. 

I once met Mr. Block at an author event when I worked at the bookstore and have an autographed copy of his book, Telling Lies for Fun and Profit. I don't know why I haven't been more consistent in my reading of his mysteries. He certainly has written plenty to keep me entertained. Perhaps that is about to change.


  1. This sounds like a book I would enjoy - it takes a fair bit of skill to make a disturbing yet also comedic book work. On to my list!

    1. Gosh, Vicki, I am glad to know I am not the only one who finds a book about a professional assassin to be enjoyable! So far, I am happy to report, this one is more about the character than the killing.
      The humor comes with the quirks of Keller the Killer.