Hit Me (Keller #5)

Hit Me (Keller #5) – Lawrence Block

Keller is enjoying a quiet life in New Orleans with his wife and daughter when, like many Americans at the time, he is hit by the financial crisis of the late 2000s. With his house-flipping business belly-up, Keller receives a call from Dot asking if he’s willing to come out of retirement.

Once again, Block eschews the novel format for a collection of loosely connected short stories. Honestly, I have no preference between the two ways in which Block chooses to present Keller’s story – each has its own merits. This time around, we see Keller venture back to the Big Apple to take down a prominent holy man, go on a “vacation” with his wife Julia where a fellow passenger is a dead-man walking, and also work alongside a woman in Cheyenne who is looking to unload her deceased husband’s stamp collection.

I will say that choosing to read every book in a series in quick succession is not something I normally do. I generally like to space novels out to just get the illusion of more time with a character. However, Block’s prose goes down as easily as my favorite comfort food, so it was easy to make an exception to my own rule. That said, I got a bit worn down by all the stamp talk in this one. I realize it’s important to the character and helps to ground him in reality, but I think I hit my limit mid-way through HIT ME. That’s probably just fatigue speaking though. Hard to hold it against the series in any way.

These were some fun stories. I particularly enjoyed “Keller’s Homecoming” where he has to come up with a way to knock off an Abbott inside a Monastery. Not an easy task. The best bits of the story involve Keller struggling with the loss of comfort in the city he called home the majority of his life. It’s not like the target on his back brought about by the events in Des Moines will ever truly go away, so it’s dangerous to risk being recognized in New York City. Block did a good job balancing Keller’s anxiety over how to complete the job while attempting to stay undercover.

There’s still a novella on the horizon that I need to read, so I’m not entirely finished with Keller just yet. I’m going to give myself a bit of a breather before this one though. As long as Block wishes to keep writing about his humble hit-man, I’m willing to read on.

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