Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:Hit Parade

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 28 Apr 2008

I've read all the Keller stories I've come across and enjoyed them quite a bit -- more than lots of Block's other work. Trying to articulate why: I think there is a unique flavour of drollery to the stories. Keller's a mildly eccentric middle class single guy, who is also a hit man. As a reader I'm always aware that this guy pursuing his trivial interests and trying to manage his personal life is a contract killer. He's potentially sympathetic, more so in some ways than many crime novel protagonists, but of course ultimately he's a mercenary serial murderer. I guess this trick (the sympathetic hit man) is not so uncommon these days, but Keller's about the only one I've encountered that I find amusing or interesting. I think there must be some real subtlety at work here. Or maybe I'm just susceptible to this particular character. Also, the stories often develop in ways that are surprising to me, and are interestingly told and paced.

On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 9:00 AM, Rob Kantner <> wrote:

> Block has always been a moving target for me, but one thing I'm
> convinced of is, he stays rigorously true to whatever vision he has for
> a work, even though that vision may not work for everyone. I've read Hit
> Parade and I'm reading Hit List now. I find the former more satisfying
> than the latter, so far. I think it's Block having fun with acid tongue
> in cheek; if you read them for realism you ain't gonna come away happy.
> For me these are confections / diversions with some damn impressive
> twists and turns built in -- for me, pleasant mini-vacations from the
> historical works to which most of my discretionary reading time is devoted.

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