RARA-AVIS: Block/Keller

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 10 Dec 2001

Kim wrote:

>Have you read his Frank Keller short stories, anthologized in _Hit >Man_
>andthis year's _Hit List_? I finished the first one last month,
> >andimmediately put the latter on reserve at the library. With the
> >character of Frank Keller, Block has taken the erstwhile moral
> >ambivalence of Scudder and magnified it to the 40th degree.

I just read "Time to Murder and Create," which is either the second or the third Scudder book (it was written 3rd and published 2nd or vice versa, I can't remember what the author's note said), and I was struck by the similarity between Scudder's unusual mission and some of Keller's assignments. Block keeps Scudder in the gray areas, though; things are more black and white for Keller, though his moral code is not really a conventional one. I love the Keller stories, particularly "answers to soldier" and "Keller's therapy." The latter is the first example of the now-cliche "bad guy and psychiatrist" motif that I know of - did anybody do it before? Keller's certainly a spiritual ancestor of Tony Soprano, anyway. And the film "Grosse Pointe Blank" is basically a Brat Pack take on the Keller stories (make the characters young and cute, put in some 80s music and a love story), though I'm guessing Block didn't get a credit.

I didn't care for the later episodes in "Hit Man" as much or for "Hit List"
- which is more of a novel than a series of shorts, although with some episodic qualities. Enjoyable enough but after a point it seemed like there was only so far to take the character. Incidentally, I thought Keller's given names were "John Patrick"; does he have a different one in some of the earlier stories?


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 Dec 2001 EST