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Hit Man (Keller series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 352 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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His Keller series of books is a favorite. Keller is a Hit Man by profession, philatelist (stamp collector) by hobby, and altogether more of a regular guy and less of a sociopath than one would expect a contract killer to be. Who woulda thought?
This is the first Keller novel of five total:
- Hit Man (Keller series Book 1)
- Hit List (Keller series Book 2)
- Hit Parade (Keller series Book 3)
- Hit and Run (Keller series Book 4)
- Hit Me (Keller series Book 5)
This is a fun read, with very little violence despite the fact that the main character is a killer, enjoyable for the first person dialogue inside the mind of a guy who just happens to kill people for a living, but whose real love in life is completing his stamp collection. In fact (and I don't think this really qualifies as much of a spoiler), he begins his collection here in Hit Man, deciding to concentrate on world issues from 1840 to 1940.
Another sympathetic killer, I'm afraid. Keller is a guy who would probably make a good neighbor. No reason to worry about him, really. He only kills those he's paid to kill, after all.
As with his Bernie Rhodenbarr (the Burglar) series which I love, Lawrence Block once again provides his readers with another of his quirky creations in HIT MAN. Hired assassin John Keller is a pensive guy who, between missions to kill, seems to enjoy mulling over everything from his choice of careers and his stamp collecting to dogs and fantasies about commitment and settling down to a normal life. His boss is an old guy in White Plains New York, his assignments are random in nature and he never knows where his next hit will take him.
Filled with unconventional and often amusing situations and Keller’s often unorthodox by usually organized methods, HIT MAN is a sure fire hit (no pun intended) for those who enjoy an absorbing tale featuring an engaging protagonist whose career, if somewhat immoral, is most entertaining.
But have no fear; this is not a chronicle of carnage. Mr. Block is using the same device he employs in his Bernie Rhodenbarr series, except that Bernie is a compulsive burglar who loves to steal but never does any physical harm. Keller’s very essence is harm, but with minimum, and undetected, fuss. He works by appointment only. When not actually on a job, for which he is well-paid, he lives the comfortable life of an unmarried, straight male in New York City. He takes his orders from “the old man”, a semi-invalid in White Plains who is the contact for any client who wants an individual eliminated, for whatever reason. The administrative details, assignment, scheduling, payment, etc., are handled by “Dot”, the only person we, or Keller, ever meet. It is a double-blind operation, with Dot the cutout. All very clean, but each case is different, and Keller sometimes has exercise considerable imagination, which of course gives the stories their point. Of equal pleasure for the reader is the verbal byplay between Keller and Dot, who acts as his stabilizer and advisor. Of course, the chief delight for us is the knowledge that we are operating in a world of complete moral depravity and can regard it with sunny insouciance.
“Hit List”, the novel, has a slightly different starting point. The old man decides to retire and to Dot’s consternation to write his memoirs, telling all. But this is just a bump: Dot prepares a special bedtime cup of cocoa for him and later visits him with a pillow for his face. She then seamlessly takes the helm and no one really notices. The adventure continues, but now with the continuity of a novel. You’re going to love it. Five stars.