RARA-AVIS: Hit man review

HollPhoto (HollPhoto@aol.com)
Sat, 21 Mar 1998 09:41:33 EST I have A Rage in Harlem on on order, meanwhile a quick impression of Hit man
by Lawrence Block.
Hit man is a series of interconnected short stories featuring Keller, a
contract killer. The first tale concerns Kellers fantasy of what it would be
like to leave New York and settle down in the small town where he has come to
dispatch his victim. He invents a Norman Rockwell scenario for the people
and the places that he sees. Without giving away too much, I will say that it
was a nice atmospheric tale that lays the groundwork for what is to come in
later stories.
Most of the other stories are problem stories. Keller has to kill someone
and has to overcome obstacles to reach his goal. These obstacle generally
concern whom to kill and how to pull off the job. These are cleverly told
tales, but if they were only problem stories they would become the literary
equivalent of a crossword puzzle. Instead Block slowly introduces a wonderful
supporting cast and lets each story build upon previous ones. We begin to
understand Kellers motives and feeling perhaps more than he understands them
himself. Dogs,lovers, psychiatrists, the old west, patriotism, hobbies,
retirement all take on a special meaning when applied to him.
A definite recommended read

David Hollander
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