Keller's Fedora (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
|Length: 96 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Keller takes a new murder-for-hire mission, but this time there’s a twist. The client who hired him for the job does not know the identity of the intended target. So, Keller buys himself a fedora, boards a train, and resigns himself to playing the role of detective for a little while.
This most recent tale is really a novella—barely more than a short story, in fact—but Block himself has said it is unlikely he will write another one, so this received a limited-edition hardback edition from Subterranean Books.
This is perhaps not the best of the Hit Man stories, but it did remind me how much I miss the character and Block’s strong writing—that great blend of dark comedy, philately, and cold-blooded murder.
Anyone who enjoys dry humor and clever mystery would enjoy this story, and it might just hook them as it has me.
The Keller adventures are pretty straightforward in their way: Keller has an assignment with a greater or lesser degree of difficulty, and he solves it. What makes them work are the characters and the dialogue. Keller himself has a tendency to overthink things, and has a lively and speculative mind, and yes, a creative one. Getting to spend time inside his head as he solves his problems are much of the appeal. While that may not be the most morally uplifting situation for the reader, it's a great deal of fun. His business manager/handler, Dot, is whimsical in her own way, and the conversations between the two are invariably good for chuckles and full-on laughter. The target/s in this story are sufficiently unpleasant as well -- while they aren't loathsome, the reader doesn't see their potential departure as lessening the world's beauty.
One can draw certain parallels between the Keller stories and Block's well known Bernie Rhodenbarr series. Both series offer us charming, affable criminals who bring us along on their capers. Keller's activities are more taboo than Rhodenbarr's, and Keller is correspondingly more solemn, though not offputtingly so. Both have sidekicks (Keller's Dot and Bernie's Carolyn) who offer a lot of comic banter. And both are -- for this reader, anyway, well worth the investment of time and money.
When I met Mr. Block only mumblety-mumble years ago, he told me he was beginning to think of himself as a retired writer. If this is retirement, may it continue apace.
Definitely need more John Keller books.
These Keller stories flow effortlessly, the dialogue and story line seemingly from Block's imagination without effort. I can't explain what makes them so interesting to read, but for a light escapist distraction they are just about perfect.
Keller is easily enticed to take a break from his comfortable life in New Orleans to take on a new 'job', and he grabs the Amtrak for Chicago. Wearing his newly purchased fedora. The unexpected ensues as he proceeds inexorably towards his latest victim.
Great fun and satisfying for Keller fans anxious for a short fix.
Block provides a view into what Keller has been up to in the past few years and also brings back characters that his readers will be happy to hear from. The job Keller takes on at first seems easy and straightforward but as experience will tell you, things are never quite what they seem. Murder, booze, sex and haberdashery all play a part and it couldn't be more thrilling.
Anyone up for a well done story and first rate narrative will do themselves a favor in reading this selection as well as the other books in the series. Hat's off to you, LB!
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Lawrence Block is one of the very best storytellers.Read more