The conclusion of Hit and Run found Keller living in a big old house in post-Katrina New Orleans, with a new name, a new wife, a new career rehabbing houses, and a baby on the way. It certainly looked as though he was done killing people for money.
But old habits die hard, and when the economic downturn knocked out the construction business, a phone call from Dot draws him back into the old game. His work takes him to Dallas, to settle a domestic dispute; to Florida, where he joins a government witness on a West Indies cruise; to Wyoming, where a house has burned down; and to New York, where he lived for so many years, and where people might remember him.
2013 is starting to shape up as a “pick up a book and be surprised” year. There have been a couple of duds, one book I couldn’t even finish, but overall the year has certainly begun at a furious and intensely satisfying pace. Hit Me by New York based Lawrence Block is no exception.
The fifth in the Keller series – and incidentally my first experience of reading anything by the author – Hit Me is one of those books you’ll find yourself intrigued on many levels. For the stamp aficionado or philatelist, to adopt the correct terminology, there’s ample information throughout the book about stamp collecting and the origins and history of numerous stamps and countries – dead or alive. I hadn’t expected the history lesson – it’s done incredibly well – but Lawrence Block delivers the lessons in an informative and not overbearing way that I was transfixed by certain passages and even when talking about Martinique or Guadalupe I found it riveting stuff.
Add to this the handful of jobs Keller is offered by his handler – Dot – test his resolve and ingenuity in problem solving. I really enjoyed the mixture and the variety these afforded, no more so than the conundrum he’s faced with on the cruise ship.
Characterisation was impressive and I enjoyed the interactions between Dot and Keller, their dry sense of humour – well Dot’s to be fair – was without doubt a highlight of the book for me. You could be forgiven thinking that she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic on a few occasions but she always managed to bring it back together when it mattered. She had me laughing aloud more often than she didn’t – what a mesmerising character and someone you wouldn’t want to cross!
Another character who intrigued me was Keller’s wife who appeared to change her persona as the book developed and I’m still not quite sure what to make of her; the jury is out on that one!
I’m not going to comment on the hits or the victims, I’ll let you enjoy the discovery but as I’ve already mentioned I thought they were well thought out and complex enough to make you question how on earth a satisfactory conclusion would be achieved. It certainly had me scratching my head a few times – in a good way – but the plot building and storyline was one of the book’s strengths.
Although as I’ve said this is the fifth book to feature Keller I didn’t find it necessary to have read the previous adventures. However, as with any established series you would benefit from Keller’s history and relationships should you decide to read the books in order.
Entertaining, enjoyable, immersive and recommended.
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Orion (14 Feb 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1409124843
- ISBN-13: 978-1409124849