Re: RARA-AVIS: The moral implication of killing

Date: 23 Oct 2007

Ed wrote:

"Maybe the moral implications of killing can be discussed in Lawrence Block's Keller hit man series during the Block-themed month. I haven't read the Keller books, but I did recently enjoy reading Such Men Are Dangerous. I wonder if it was warm-up act to his writing the Keller books."

Ed, have you read either of Block's other two "Paul Kavanagh" books? They all deal with killers. The third, Not Coming Home to You, is a fictionalization of the Charlie Starkweather/Caril Fugate killings. But the second, The Triumph of Evil, is specifically about an assassin. It's a far darker take on a paid killer than the Heller books. In some ways it reminded me of Donald Hamilton's In the Line of Fire. In fact, there have been a whole slew of hit man books, including Thomas Perry's two Butcher's Boy books and Loren Estleman's Macklin trilogy that grew a fourth.

There are plenty of noir/hardboiled books about dealing out death, from the above hit men to the revenge novels we recently listed. There are books of killings sanctioned by the government, both by spies and executioners.

And I'll bet there are quite a few novels that directly engage death row, but I can't think of any (except maybe Front Page, didn't it involve reporters trying to clear someone about to be executed?).


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