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Hit Paradeby Lawrence Block
Synopses & Reviews
Keller is friendly. Industrious. A bit lonely, sometimes. If it wasn't for the fact that he kills people for a living, he'd be just your average Joe. The inconvenient wife, the troublesome sports star, the greedy business partner, the vicious dog, he'll take care of them all, quietly and efficiently. If the price is right.
Like the rest of us, Keller's starting to worry about his retirement. After all, he's not getting any younger. (His victims, on the other hand, aren't getting any older.) So he contacts his "booking agent," Dot, up in White Plains, and tells her to keep the hits coming. He'll take any job, anywhere. His nest egg needs fattening up.
Of course, being less choosy means taking greater risks—and that could buy Keller some big trouble. Then again, in this game, there are plenty of opportunities for some inventive improvisation...and a determined self-motivator can make a killing.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The humor is even more deadpan than usual, and the vignettes...are quirky diversions....Block's legion of fans will savor his subtle wit, his consummate narrative skills, and his idiosyncratic method of celebrating the lives of working folks in America." Booklist
"[A] wonderful book....What makes Hit Parade so much fun is that you can't help but enjoy spending time with Keller, despite his line of work....Read Hit Parade and enjoy, and be prepared to shiver a bit despite the summer heat." BookReporter.com
"Most of the stories don't expand the territory mapped out in Hit Man and Hit List. But one of them, in which Keller is hired to kill a dog and ends up killing four people along the way, is worth the price of admission." Kirkus Reviews
"Block writes in the same terse, laconic style that his antihero employs, with rat-a-tat dialogue and a matter-of-fact attitude....Block has accomplished what few other mystery writers have: a detective trifecta." The Washington Post
Keller is a new kind of hero, one for the 21st century. He's cool. Reliable. A real pro.
His job? He's a stone killer. The hit man's hit man. He may be a crack assassin, but he's also an all-too-human being. Yeah, he's prone to doubts and loneliness, just like everybody else. Somehow, you just pull for the guy.
About the Author
Lawrence Block is one of the most widely recognized names in the mystery genre. He has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. He received the Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association—only the third American to be given this award. He is a prolific author, having written more than fifty books and numerous short stories, and is a devoted New Yorker and an enthusiastic global traveler.
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