New York hit man Keller is a law unto himself, and when a situation goes awry - which despite his best-laid plans it so often does - he makes some surprising judgement calls to provide a twist in the tale. It's not all drudgery in the life of an assassin. Keller's jobs allow him access to all sorts of sporting events - following a baseball team ...Read MoreNew York hit man Keller is a law unto himself, and when a situation goes awry - which despite his best-laid plans it so often does - he makes some surprising judgement calls to provide a twist in the tale. It's not all drudgery in the life of an assassin. Keller's jobs allow him access to all sorts of sporting events - following a baseball team round the country, providing the insurance for a fixed horse race, attending a basketball game in Indiana and playing golf in Arizona. He even gets to mix his passion for stamp-collecting with a hit on a famous philatelist. Wisely, Keller always travels for his work. New York is home, and he doesn't want to mess on his own doorstep. But the jobs are drying up, and he needs money. So he breaks the rule - and regrets it. His cover is at risk - he is even followed home - and Keller has to use all his remarkable skill to make sure he can continue doing what he does best.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2006-08-07 Block's latest collection of darkly funny, morally ambiguous short tales featuring the philatelist-hit man John Keller and his wisecracking "manager," Dot, is being called a novel. This disingenuous designation is clarified in the published version by separate story titles, which are missing from the otherwise unabridged audio version. The loosely linked stories are flowed like a continuous novel, but one with plot line and characters shifting without much warning. It's an unnecessary distraction from Block's brilliantly twisted tales, otherwise happily enhanced by the author's droll, surprisingly effective narration. Not only has Block created one of crime fiction's more remarkable protagonists-a hired assassin who is somehow likable without the need of redemption by penance, charm or even regret-he proves to be an excellent audio interpreter of his antihero's sometimes hilarious homicidal capers. The author's voice is reedy and a bit nasal, but he knows his characters and his timing is impeccable. The best episode (identified in the print edition as "Keller the Dogkiller") is so cleverly and wickedly convoluted, with the Keller-Dot recaps so deliriously funny, that it alone is worth the price of the package, especially with Block's distinctive voice taking us through every hairpin twist and turn with an air of sublime nonchalance. Simultaneous release with the Shaye Areheart Books hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 13). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2006-05-01 Block's assassin, John Keller (Hit Man; Hit List), returns in these loosely linked, well-crafted vignettes of the protagonist on assignment, blithely but expertly eliminating a grab bag of targets: a philandering pro baseball player, a jockey in a fixed horse race, two women who hire him to put down a neighbor's dog, a Cuban exile and more. Manhattan-based Keller works through his agent, Dot, who assigns murders from her home just north in White Plains. Keller, a loner by temperament and trade, has an easy camaraderie with Dot. The two entrepreneurial colleagues strike a casual tone in conversation-but they're discussing death (sometimes in gory detail). With dry wit, Block tracks the pursuits of the morally ambiguous Keller, who hunts rare, pricey stamps for his extensive collection when he's not "taking care of business." Four-time Shamus- and Edgar-winner Block has the reader queasily rooting for the killer as well as the victims, unsettling the usual point of identification and assumptions about right and wrong. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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