Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times
bestselling author and master of the modern mystery returns with a fierce and poignant new novel featuring his acclaimed killer-for-hire, Keller.
John Keller is everyone's favorite hit man: a new kind of hero for a new, uncertain age. He's cool. Reliable. A real pro: the hit man's hit man. The inconvenient wife, the aging sports star, the business partner, the retiree with a substantial legacy. He's taken care of them all, quietly and efficiently.
Keller's got a code of honor, though he'd never call it that. And he keeps the job strictly business. "What happens is you wind up thinking of each subject not as a person to be killed but as a problem to be solved. Now there are guys doing this who cope with it by making it personal. They find a reason to hate the guy they have to kill. I don't know what's a sin and what isn't, or if one person deserves to go on living and another deserves to have his life ended. Sometimes I think about stuff like that, but as far as working it all out in my mind, well, I never seem to get anywhere."
But while Keller might be a pragmatic and crack assassin, he's also prone to doubts and loneliness just like everybody else. There was a psychotherapist once. A dog. Even a woman. And though he's got Dot, his wisecracking contact and sometimes confidante, and his precious stamp collection, these days, it doesn't seem to be enough.
Keller's been at this business a long while. Just maybe it's time to pack it in and find a nice little house in the desert. Only problem is, retirement takes money. And to get money, he's got to go to work...
Hit Parade, the third novel featuring the fascinating Keller, displays the hallmarks that distinguish Lawrence Block's award-winning fiction: the intelligence, the clever plotting, the humor, the tricky twists and ironic turns, the darkness and emotional complexity and, above all else, the humanity.
"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
"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
"[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
"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
Fascinating professional killer John Keller returns after a five-year hiatus in this third novel, a fierce and poignant tale by a bestselling author and master of the modern mystery.
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 (after Sara Paretsky and Ed McBain) 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 who spends much of his time traveling.