Cover image for Hitman
Hall, Parnell.
Personal Author:
First Pegasus Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Pegasus Books : Distributed by Consortium, 2007.
Physical Description:
263 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Stanley Hastings mystery"--Spine.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Private eye Stanley Hastings doesn't want for idiosyncrasies, as fans of this long-running "unconventional" and "very funny" (says the New York Times) mystery series know. For instance, he doesn't carry a gun. So he seems a particularly improbable choice, among all of New York City's private investigators, for the cold-eyed Martin Kessler.Not that Kessler requires firepower. He's got a gun of his own--an automatic with a long, ugly silencer--although he'd like to retire it. A contract killer who wants out of the game, Kessler hires Stanley mostly to watch his back in the event that someone of similar professional skills is shadowing him. Someone is, in fact, only Stanley fails to spot him and dead bodies are soon piling messily up. The hapless Stanley thus begins an odyssey around Manhattan in his attempt to uncover just what did go down, and why, during his client's last, decidedly dirty, job.

Author Notes

Parnell Hall is a part-time actor, a former private detective, singer/songwriter, and full-time writer of novels and screenplays. He writes the Stanley Hastings Mystery series, the Steve Winslow courtroom drama series, and the Puzzle Lady Mystery series. He also writes under the pseudonym J. P. Hailey. He wrote the screenplay to the 1984 movie C.H.U.D.

Hall co-authored New York Times bestseller Smooth Operator with Stuart Woods.

(Bowker Author Biography) Parnell Hall has been nominated for the Edgar, the Shamus, and the Lefty Awards for his mysteries. Bantam will publish his third Puzzle Lady mystery, Puzzled to Death, in Fall 2001. He lives in New York City.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Nebbishy PI Stanley Hastings' newest client, Martin Kessler, introduces himself as a professional killer. This comes as a bit of a shock to Hastings, whose investigations generally fall into trip-and-fall category, the bread-and-butter case for the ambulance-chasing lawyer who usually employs him. Kessler, who teaches high school when he's not killing people, wants out of the business, but it's not a vocation one can easily leave behind. In the course of tailing Kessler to ensure that he's not being followed, Hastings sees him in the company of a Mob hit man who is later murdered. And it turns out that the man who hired Stanley is not Martin Kessler. Now there are people with guns running around trying to kill Stanley and the real Kessler, and no one understands why. The long-running Hastings series is valued for its humor, clever plotting, and likably mediocre protagonist. Although continually buffeted about by his employer, his wife, the cops, and the bad guys, he perseveres through a combination of pluck, luck, and the stubbornness that comes from wanting to do the right thing.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2007 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Stanley Hastings, the hapless PI who's recently taken somewhat of a backseat to Hall's Cora Felton "puzzle lady" series (You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled, etc.), reappears for his 16th case, the first since 2003's Manslaughter. Not to be confused with the macho type who carries a rod and gives or takes a beating in the course of his investigations, Stanley is more likely to have his ego beaten down by his caustic wife, Alice; long-suffering Sergeant MacAullif; or profit-hungry lawyer Richard Rosenberg, Stanley's only steady client. When hit man Martin Kessler retires before completing his final contract and hires Stanley to protect him from his irate employers, the bodies-and the absurdities-start piling up. The laughs aren't as frequent as in Stanley's prior outings, but the convoluted conclusion produces the kind of rueful groan elicited by a good shaggy dog story. It's good to see Stanley returning to the lists, even in such a humble offering. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Martin Kessler, a hit man for the mob, hires PI Stanley Hastings (Manslaughter) to protect him from his employers. Kessler does not want to kill the person he has been hired to take out and knows that he will be next on the list if he doesn't finish the job. Although warned not to take the case, Hastings does so anyway and soon finds himself in trouble with the law. Witty repartee and fast-paced plots are Hall's forte, and here he treats his readers to a tense, compelling thriller. Hall, author of the "Puzzle Lady" series, lives in New York City. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.