Who would have thought that these tales of the life of a hit man would be so much fun? Certainly, my (very limited) experience with Lawrence Block didn’t set my expectations in the right direction.
Summary via Goodreads.com:
Keller is an assassin – he is paid by the job and works for a mysterious man who nominates hits and passes on commissions from elsewhere. Keller goes in, does the job, gets out: usually at a few hours’ notice . . . Often Keller’s work takes him out of New York to other cities, to pretty provincial towns that almost tempt him into moving to the woods and the lakeshores. Almost but not quite.
But then one job goes wrong in a way Keller has never imagined and it leaves him with a big problem. Finding himself with an orphan on his hands, Keller’s job begins to interfere with his carefully guarded life. And once you let someone in to your life, they tend to want to know what you do when you’re away. And killing for a living, lucrative though it is, just doesn’t find favour with some folks.
Keller is a hit man, but this career leaves him with a lot of time on his hands. The rather unique way he ends up with a dog, his new hobby of stamp collecting, the unexpected side effects of an impromptu rescue of a drowning boy… These stories are interwoven with reports of his job tasks, which are handled in a very matter-of-fact, just-another-day-on-the-job manner. He has workplace challenges, since the repercussions of a mistake in the details of an assignment are fairly significant.
Keller is an interesting guy. The book isn’t terribly deep, but it is textured. It’s intellectually engaging as well as entertaining, and I enjoyed it tremendously.
Narrator: Robert Forster’s calm delivery was perfect for this story. He just made Keller and his life feel so normal!
Production: No issues, no extras.
Audio vs. Print? My feeling is that I enjoyed this even more as an audio book. I can’t give a solid reason why, but I think that Robert Forster’s reading of the book gave it a little more of a feeling of everyday life, allowing the contrast between the normalcy of Keller’s life and the unreality of his job to really shine through. In the end, I’d say to read it in whatever format is more convenient for you.