Hit Parade

Lawrence Block, Author . Morrow $24.95 (295p) ISBN 978-0-06-084088-4

Block's assassin, John Keller (Hit Man ; Hit List ), returns in these loosely linked, well-crafted vignettes of the protagonist on assignment, blithely but expertly eliminating a grab bag of targets: a philandering pro baseball player, a jockey in a fixed horse race, two women who hire him to put down a neighbor's dog, a Cuban exile and more. Manhattan-based Keller works through his agent, Dot, who assigns murders from her home just north in White Plains.Keller, a loner by temperament and trade, has an easy camaraderie with Dot. The two entrepreneurial colleagues strike a casual tone in conversation—but they're discussing death (sometimes in gory detail). With dry wit, Block tracks the pursuits of the morally ambiguous Keller, who hunts rare, pricey stamps for his extensive collection when he's not "taking care of business." Four-time Shamus- and Edgar-winner Block has the reader queasily rooting for the killer as well as the victims, unsettling the usual point of identification and assumptions about right and wrong. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/01/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
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