Read as part of CBR13Bingo: Gateway. This is an excellent introduction to Lawrence Block, one of my favorite writers. Also proved an excellent introduction for me to his Keller series.
I really don’t have the words to describe Lawrence Block.
It’s an appreciation for him that has grown as I’ve gotten older and my tastes have evolved. In my 20s, I’d look for the pulpy mystery shlock with exciting hooks. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the mundane nature of life and how fictionally exciting people such as private investigators and professional assassins go through the routine of their days.
I put off reading this for a long time because I don’t really enjoy books about hit men. They’re written mostly by loner, antisocial men who want an excuse to live vicariously through someone in fiction. I suppose that’s true of Keller himself, Block’s fictional creation. But Block is less interested in weapons, morals or savagery and more so in digging deep into the daily life of someone who just happens to be a hit man.
The result is a string of short stories that are connected well enough to each other but still stand out on their own; stories that will make you laugh and think. Love letters to New York and daydreams about living elsewhere (what city dweller hasn’t had such fantasies?). You get to know Keller but not really, there’s a mystery but who cares? You’re more concerned about how this traveling corporate fixer (who just so happens to be a hitman) lives his life. Like David Chase once said, The Sopranos is nothing more than a story about Tony and his psychiatrist, the mob is the tickle to get you to watch. Such is the case with this one too.
I’m overjoyed to have discovered this series at this point in my reading of Block’s catalogue and I can’t wait to read more.