Books

by Lawrence Block
Mulholland Books, February 2013, $26.99

The last book to feature Keller the hit man ended with him being forced out of the life by the need to relocate from his lifelong home in New York City and adopt a new identity. Under this guise, he found romance, took the straight and narrow path, and settled down in New Orleans. In Hit Me, Keller is enjoying life as a father, husband, and philatelist (i.e., stamp collector). Unfortunately, his construction business is tanking in the recession and no one’s hiring building renovators, even in New Orleans. However, his old employer Dot still has his number. How hard would it be to pull a job or two, as long as he’s in the neighborhood indulging in his new passion for stamps?

Hit Me is, essentially, five pieces of short fiction that, in combination, show the continuing ethical and personal problems Keller faces by living a double life. These problems are not just the ones posed to him personally, like being identified when he returns to New York in “Keller’s Homecoming,” but also the toll his life choices take on his wife and child when he has to make a hit while taking the family on a cruise in “Keller at Sea.” Each story raises the stakes in terms of the possible toll each dilemma places on Keller. The story “Keller’s Sideline” shows Keller having to choose whether to take advantage of an attractive widow, and it’s a story that could be named for his hobby or a sly double entendre. The final story, “Keller’s Obligation,” reveals the truth about Keller, which is that he’s always been a little too smart for his own good. When posed with what seems to be the ultimate dilemma, he basically punts. The reader knows he must choose his allegiances or die trying.

Debbi Mack

The last book to feature Keller the hit man ended with him being forced out of the life by the need to relocate from his lifelong home in New York City and adopt a new identity. Under this guise, he found romance, took the straight and narrow path, and settled down in New Orleans. In Hit Me, Keller is enjoying life as a father, husband, and philatelist (i.e., stamp collector). Unfortunately, his construction business is tanking in the recession and no one’s hiring building renovators, even in New Orleans. However, his old employer Dot still has his number. How hard would it be to pull a job or two, as long as he’s in the neighborhood indulging in his new passion for stamps?

Hit Me is, essentially, five pieces of short fiction that, in combination, show the continuing ethical and personal problems Keller faces by living a double life. These problems are not just the ones posed to him personally, like being identified when he returns to New York in “Keller’s Homecoming,” but also the toll his life choices take on his wife and child when he has to make a hit while taking the family on a cruise in “Keller at Sea.” Each story raises the stakes in terms of the possible toll each dilemma places on Keller. The story “Keller’s Sideline” shows Keller having to choose whether to take advantage of an attractive widow, and it’s a story that could be named for his hobby or a sly double entendre. The final story, “Keller’s Obligation,” reveals the truth about Keller, which is that he’s always been a little too smart for his own good. When posed with what seems to be the ultimate dilemma, he basically punts. The reader knows he must choose his allegiances or die trying.

Teri Duerr
2989

by Lawrence Block
Mulholland Books, February 2013, $26.99

Block
February 2013
hit-me
26.99
Mulholland Books