Hit List

Hit List

Book - 2000
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Keller is a regular guy, a solid citizen. Call him for jury duty and he serves without complaint. He goes to the movies, watches the tube, browses the art galleries, and works diligently on his stamp collection. But every now and then a call from the breezily efficient Dot sends him off to kill a total stranger. He takes a plane, rents a car, finds a hotel room, and gets back before the body is cold.

He's a real pro, cool and dispassionate and very good at what he does. Until one day when Dot breaks her own rule and books him for a hit in New York, his home base. She sends him to an art gallery opening, and the girl he gets lucky with steers him to an astrologer. He's a Gemini, his moon's in Taurus . . . and he's got a murderer's thumb.

Then the jobs start to go wrong. Targets die before he can draw a bead on them. The realization is slow in coming, but there's no getting around it: Somebody out there is trying to hit the hit man. Keller, God help him, has found his way on to somebody else's hit list.

Darker than Keller's conscience, and as riveting, surprising, and wickedly funny as his sensational New York Times bestselling debut, Hit Man, Lawrence Block's Hit List only serves to confirm the Wall Street Journal's estimation of the multiple-award-winning author as "one of the very best writers now working the beat."

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c2000
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780060198336
0060198338
Branch Call Number: FIC Block 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 296 p

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j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

The card’s face displayed a family photograph, a man, a woman, two children and a dog. The humans were all smiling, and looked as though they’d been smiling for days, waiting for someone to figure out how to work the camera. The dog, a golden retriever, wasn’t smiling, but he looked happy enough.” Season’s Greetings. ...” it said below the photo.
===
“Powhatan? What’s that, an Indian name? ” “Pocahontas’s father.” “Unusual name for a dog.” “It’s a fairly unusual name for a human being,” Keller said.
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You couldn’t go around killing people if you were going to agonize over the potential traumatic effect on whoever discovered the body.

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

Keller didn’t spend much time thinking about guns. When he had to use one, he chose whatever was at hand. Why make it complicated? It was like photography. You could learn all about f-stops and shutter speeds, or you could pick up a Japanese camera and just point and shoot.
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It called itself a family restaurant, which was a term Keller had never entirely understood. It seemed to embody low prices, Middle American food, and a casual atmosphere, but where did family come into the picture? There were no families there this afternoon, just single diners.
===

The old man was gone now — his mind had gone first, little by little, and then his body went all at once — but things went on essentially unchanged. Dot took the phone calls, set the fees, made the arrangements, and disbursed the money. Keller went out there, checked out the territory, closed the sale, and came home.

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

It was a great comfort, having a gun. Took your mind off your troubles. You spent all your time trying to figure out where to keep it.
===
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in Louisville before.” “Well, make the most of it. Take the elevator up to the top of the Empire State Building, catch a Broadway show. Ride the cable cars, take a boat ride on the Seine. Do all the usual tourist things. Because who knows when you’ll get back there again.”
===
It was, he noted, a two-and-a-half-car garage. Which was handy, he thought, if you happened to have two and a half cars.
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They gave you a free continental breakfast at the motel — a cup of coffee and a doughnut, and he wasn’t sure what continent they had in mind —

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

“No depth. Everything on the surface.” “Like a thin skin of ice on a pond in winter,” he said.” Or the scum that forms on the top of a mug of hot chocolate,” she said.
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“Portugal and colonies.” “Angra and Angola,” Schaffner intoned.” Kionga. Madeira, Funchal. Horta, Lourenço Marques. Tete and Timor. Macao and Quelimane.”
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Whenever he found a stamp that was missing from his collection he noted the centering, examined the gum on the reverse, held it to the light to check for thins. He deliberated as intensely over a thirty-five-cent stamp as over one priced at thirty-five dollars. Should he buy this used specimen or wait for a more costly mint one? Should he buy this complete set, even though he already had the two low values? He didn’t have this stamp, but it was a minor variety, and his album didn’t have a place for it. Should he buy it anyway?

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

“I think they’re having a party,” Keller said.” Or butchering a steer, or something.” “Butchering a steer?” “Probably not that,” Keller allowed, “But the point is they’re being noisy about it, whatever it is they’re doing. I mean really noisy.”
===
“Let’s hear it. How’d you do it? ” “When he got out of the car,” he said, “I got him in a choke hold.” “It’s good you’re not a cop, Keller. These days that comes under the heading of police brutality.”
===
The man didn’t seem to be writing about art at all, but about philosophical determinism and the evanescence of imagery and casuistry as a transcendent phenomenon. Words Keller recognized, every one of them, but what were they doing all jumbled together like that?
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Maybe you wore black to an art gallery for the same reason you turned off your pager at a concert, so as to avoid distracting others from what had brought them there.

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

“They always say that, don’t they? ‘ How are you today? ’ Right away you know it’s somebody trying to sell you something you don’t want.” “I guess they figure it’s an icebreaker,” she said.” They ask you a question and you answer it, they’re halfway home.”
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“Now I make jewelry.” “I was noticing your earrings.” “These? They’re my work. I only wear my own pieces, because that way I get to be a walking showcase. Unless I’m sitting down, in which case I’m a sitting showcase.”
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“How come you stopped painting?” “I stopped being twenty-nine.” “I didn’t know there was an age limit.” “I spent my twenties painting moody abstract oils and sleeping with strangers,” she said.” I figure my twenties lasted until my thirty-fourth birthday, when I got out of some guy’s bed, threw up in his bathroom, and tried to get out of there without looking at him or the mirror. It struck me that I was older than Jesus Christ, and it was time to quit being twenty-nine and grow up.

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

Listen, I’ve got a tip for you. Don’t ever tell an artist his work is interesting.” “I won’t.” “Or different. ‘ Did you like the movie? ’ ‘It was different. ’ What the hell does that mean? Different from what? ”
===
I don’t drink myself stupid, and I don’t hurt my ears listening to loud music. ..” “Or go to bed with strangers?” “It depends,” she said.” How strange are you? ”
===
The poster showed one of the artist’s most recognizable works, solitary diners at a café counter, and its mood was unutterably lonely. Keller found it cheering. Its message for him was that he was not alone in his solitude, that the city ( and by extension the world ) was full of lonely guys, sitting on stools in some sad café, drinking their cups of coffee and getting through the days and nights .

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

“Well, I’m a sort of consultant-slash-troubleshooter. And a couple of jobs a year is all I get, so it’s not that far from being completely retired.”
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By the time he’d walked in and out of three galleries he was entirely at ease. It was like going to a museum, he realized. It was exactly like going to a museum, except for two things. You didn’t have to pay to get in, and there were no groups of restless children, with their teachers desperate to explain things to them.
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His notes remained as steadfastly perfunctory as hers. She sent him stamps, he sent her checks. Why mess with something that worked?
===
In recent years, artists seeking low-cost loft space had been moving in. (“There goes the neighborhood” went the cry — in Spanish and Yiddish, Polish and Italian.)

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

A block away he found a little Polish restaurant where he had a bowl of borscht and a big plate of pierogis, drank the large glass of grape Kool-Aid they brought without his asking, and, after a generous tip, still had change left from a ten-dollar bill. Dinner out here was quite a bargain, even when you counted the subway fare.
===
“What I always do,” she said, “is pick up a banana smoothie on the way to the shrink’s, with added wheat germ and protein powder and spirulina, whatever that is, and I sip it while we talk. It’s the perfect time to be nourished, you know?
===

We can talk about things, but not about ourselves. Nothing ruins everything like getting to know each other.”
===
Unlike animation art from Disney or Warner Brothers, the works of Rembrandt and Rubens were unprotected by trademark or copyright. Anyone could copy them, and many did.

j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

“You know what they say, Keller. You stick to your stamps and your stamps will stick to you.”
===
If you wanted to hang something on the wall, you couldn’t beat a poster. Ten or twenty bucks plus framing and you had a real piece of art in your living room. On the other hand, how many posters could you hang before you ran out of wall space? No, if you were going to collect art in a small apartment, stamps were the way to go. One album, a few inches of shelf space, and you could put together a tiny Louvre all your own.
===
Do you know what happens when an artist dies? ” “They give him an enema,” she said, “and bury him in a matchbox.” “His price goes up. They know he’s not going to flood the market with new pictures, and that he doesn’t have his best work ahead of him. So there’s a scramble for what he managed to complete before his death.” “So every artist is worth more dead than alive?”

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j
jimg2000
May 21, 2019

Keller has found himself looking over his shoulder when doing his jobs. Dot is unhappy because her peripatetic killer Keller/philatelist is distracted... Perspective on life being a hit man and those on his list. A reread and added quotes this time.

Hit Man (1998) ★★★★
Hit List (2000) ★★★★
Hit Parade (2006)
Hit and Run (2008) ★★★★
Hit Me (2013) ★★★★
Keller's Fedora (2016) (Novella)

m
mammothhawk229e
Jul 09, 2018

I respectfully disagree. Antihero was calm & collected during framed manhunt while traveling coast to coast. Character learned new life skills & perspective while gaining new identity.

walkerpj Nov 26, 2012

Explicit book. Boring to me.

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