Cover image for Hit list
Title:
Hit list
Author:
Block, Lawrence.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : William Morrow, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
296 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780060198336
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Central Library X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
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Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Collins Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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Hamburg Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Kenmore Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Orchard Park Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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Anna M. Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

Keller is a regular guy, a solid citizen. Call him for jury duty and he serves without complaint. He goes to the movies, watches the tube, browses the art galleries, and works diligently on his stamp collection. But every now and then a call from the breezily efficient Dot sends him off to kill a total stranger. He takes a plane, rents a car, finds a hotel room, and gets back before the body is cold.

He's a real pro, cool and dispassionate and very good at what he does. Until one day when Dot breaks her own rule and books him for a hit in New York, his home base. She sends him to an art gallery opening, and the girl he gets lucky with steers him to an astrologer. He's a Gemini, his moon's in Taurus . . . and he's got a murderer's thumb.

Then the jobs start to go wrong. Targets die before he can draw a bead on them. The realization is slow in coming, but there's no getting around it: Somebody out there is trying to hit the hit man. Keller, God help him, has found his way on to somebody else's hit list.

Darker than Keller's conscience, and as riveting, surprising, and wickedly funny as his sensational New York Times bestselling debut, Hit Man, Lawrence Block's Hit List only serves to confirm the Wall Street Journal's estimation of the multiple-award-winning author as "one of the very best writers now working the beat."


Author Notes

Lawrence Block is the author of the popular series' featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr, Matthew Scudder, and Chip Harrison. Over 2 million copies of Lawrence Block's books are in print. He has published articles and short fiction in American Heritage, Redbook, Playboy, GQ, and The New York Times, and has published several collections of short fiction in book form, most recently Collected Mystery Stories.

Block is a Grand Master of Mystery Writers of America. He has won the Edgar and Shamus awards four times, the Japanese Maltese Falcon award twice, as well as the Nero Wolfe award. In France, he was proclaimed a Grand Maitre du Roman Noir and has been awarded the Societe 813 trophy twice. Block was presented with the key to the city of Muncie, Indiana, and is a past president of the Private Eye Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

(Bowker Author Biography) Lawrence Block is the author of the popular series featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr, Matthew Scudder, and Chip Harrison. Over 2 million copies of Lawrence Block's books are in print. Lawrence Block has won the Edgar Award three times, the Shamus Award four times, the Maltese Falcon Award twice, and was named Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Keller seems the archetypal contemporary urban man. He lives a mostly solitary and quotidian existence on Manhattan's East Side. He eats out; he ruminates in Seinfeldian fashion about how to "clean his plate" in a restaurant that trumpets a bottomless coffee cup: every time he empties his cup, a waitress refills it. He works on his stamp collection and goes to jury duty when summoned. Occasionally, he visits Dot in White Plains, then goes to Louisville or Muscatine, Iowa, to murder a stranger. Keller is a contract killer, and Dot is his "broker." Here Keller realizes that someone is stalking him; he and Dot examine it from every angle and conclude that another hit man is pulling a Microsoft--trying to eliminate the competition. Keller's outrage at this unethical behavior recalls the bizarre logic of Catch-22. It's these elements, the twisted logic and the protagonist's relentless introspection about matters great and small, that make Keller stories so winsome. Block is a wonderfully agile writer; along with Keller, he is the creator of hard-boiled P.I. Matt Scudder, charming bibliophile/thief Bernie Rhodenbarr, and secret agent Evan Tanner. Mystery readers are likely to be most familiar with Rhodenbarr and Scudder, but the previous Keller novel, Hit Man (1997), was a top seller, too. If crime fans don't have Keller on their A-lists yet, they're missing a sure thing. --Thomas Gaughan


Publisher's Weekly Review

John Keller, whom Block introduced in Hit Man, is a killer for hire, with a difference. He's thoughtful, even broody, tends to take a liking to some of the towns where he goes to do his work, dreams of perhaps settling down in one of them one day and collects stamps in his spare time, of which there's plenty. It's a novel idea, and it carried an excellent group of stories in the previous book. A whole novel about Keller, however, who after all walks a very delicate line between likability and horror, is more than he can readily bear, and, almost unknown in Block's work, there are longueurs here. The plot is wryly serviceableÄa rival is attempting to corner the market by getting to some of Keller's intended victims first, and clearly has to be disposed ofÄbut about halfway through a certain unease creeps in and won't let go. For all Block's usual great skill with goofy dialogue (here between Keller and Dot, the intermediary who takes the orders for his jobs), it's difficult to indefinitely enjoy jokes about the violent deaths of a number of people who, for all Dot and Keller know, are harmless, perhaps even good citizens, but whom someone is willing to pay to remove. Apparently mindful of this, Block keeps the killings mostly offstage, or with a minimum of graphic violence. But an affection for Keller is an acquired taste, and here it proves difficult to acquire. 9-city author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

With Hit List, the usually reliable Block misfires. The character of Keller is back from Hit Man, and he still seems like a normal guy until he gets a call from his boss to complete an assignment. Being a hit man, his job entails killing total strangers. Things start to go wrong, however; it seems that somebody is beating him to his kills. It also seems that this someone is looking to eliminate Keller. What should have been exciting instead reads like a print version of My Dinner with Andre. There are never any direct action scenes; events are merely discussed after the fact. Keller collects stamps, and many pages are devoted to his hobby, which is fine if you collect stamps. But to be honest, collecting dust would be more appropriate for this book. Purchase only if you need all of Block's novels. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/00.]DJeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Hit List Chapter One Keller, fresh off the plane from Newark, followed the signs marked Baggage Claim. He hadn't checked a bag, he never did, but the airport signage more or less assumed that everybody checked their luggage, because you got to the exit by heading for the baggage claim. You couldn't count on a series of signs that said This is the way to get out of this goddam place. There was a down escalator after you cleared security, and ten or a dozen men stood around at the foot of it, some in uniform, most holding hand-lettered signs. Keller found himself drawn to one man, a droopy guy in khakis and a leather jacket. He was the guy, Keller decided, and his eyes went to the sign the man was holding. But you couldn't read the damn thing. Keller walked closer, squinting at it. Did it say Archibald? Keller couldn't tell. He turned, and there was the name he was looking for, on a card held by another man, this one taller and heavier and wearing a suit and tie. Keller veered away from the man with the illegible signwhat was the point of a sign that nobody could read?--and walked up to the man with the Archibald sign. "I'm Mr. Archibald, " he said. "Mr. Richard Archibald?" What possible difference could it make? He started to nod, then remembered the name Dot had given him. "Nathan Archibald," he said. "That's the ticket," the man said. "Welcome to Louisville, Mr. Archibald. Carry that for you?" "Never mind," Keller said, and held on to his carry-on bag. He followed the man out of the terminal and across a couple of lanes of traffic to the short-term parking lot. "About the name," the man said. "What I figured, anybody can read a name off a card. Some clown's got to figure, why take a cab when I can say I'm Archibald and ride for free? I mean, it's not like they gave me a picture of you. Nobody here even knows what you look like." "I don't come here often," Keller said. "Well, it's a pretty nice town," the man said, "but that's beside the point. Which is I want to make sure I'm driving the right person, so I throw out a first name, and it's a wrong first name. 'Richard Archibald?' Guy says yeah, that's me, Richard Archibald, right away I know he's full of crap." "Unless that's his real name." "Yeah, but what's the odds of that? Two men fresh off a plane and they both got the name Archibald?" "Only one." "How's that?" "My name's not really Archibald," Keller said, figuring he wasn't exactly letting state secrets slip by the admission. "So it's only one man named Archibald, so how much of a long shot is it?" The man set his jaw. "Guy claims to be Richard Archibald," he said, "he's not my guy. Whether it's his name or not. "You're right about that." "But you came up with Nathan, so we're in business. Case closed. It's the Toyota there, the blue one. Get in and we'll take a run over to long-term parking. Your car's there, full tank of gas, registration in the glove box. When you're done, just put her back in the same spot, tuck the keys and the claim check in the ashtray. Somebody'll pick it up." The car turned out to be a mid-size Olds, dark green in color. The man unlocked it and handed Keller the keys and a cardboard claim check. "Cost you a few dollars," he said apologetically. "We brought her over last night. On the passenger seat there you got a street map of the area. Open it up, you'll see two spots marked, home and office. I don't know how much you been told." "Name and address," Keller said. "What was the name?" "It wasn't Archibald. " "You don't want to say? I don't blame you. You seen a photo?" Keller shook his head. The man drew a small envelope from his inside pocket, retrieved a card from it. The card's face displayed a family photograph, a man, a woman, two children and a dog. The humans were all smiling, and looked as though they'd been smiling for days, waiting for someone to figure out how to work the camera. The dog, a golden retriever, wasn't smiling, but he looked happy enough. "Season's Greetings . . ." it said below the photo. Keller opened the card. He read: ". . . from the Hirschhorns--Walt, Betsy, Jason, Tamara, and Powhatan." "I guess Powhatan's the dog," he said. "Powhatan? What's that, an Indian name?" "Pocahontas's father." "Unusual name for a dog." "It's a fairly unusual name for a human being," Keller said. "As far as I know it's only been used once. Was this the only picture they could come up with?" "What's the matter with it? Nice clear shot, and I'm here to tell you it looks just like the man." "Nice that you could get them to pose for you." "It's from a Christmas card. Musta been taken during the summer, though. How they're dressed, and the background. You know where I bet this was taken? He's got a summer place out by McNeely Lake." Wherever that was. "So it woulda been taken in the summer, which'd make it what, fifteen months old? He still looks the same, so what's the problem?" "It shows the whole family." "Right, " the man said. "Oh, I see where you're going. No, it's just him, Walter Hirschhorn. just the man himself." That was Keller's understanding, but it was good to have it confirmed. Still, he'd have been happier with... Hit List . Copyright © by Lawrence Block. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Hit List by Lawrence Block All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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