Reviews for Hit Parade
Booklist Reviews 2006 March #2
Keller is a hit man. Like all careers, it has its challenges, some imposed by circumstance, others generated by introspection. For example, Keller accepts a contract on an aging baseball star. The job will be easy, but Keller complicates it with reasons that can only be categorized as "inside baseball." There's another job in which he's assigned to kill a jockey, but only if the man wins a fixed race. Since Keller is all about the money, he figures a way to turn the situation into a win-win for himself. He also ponders a retirement in which he will abandon his Manhattan lifestyle for a trailer in the southwestern desert. Block, the best-selling author of the Matt Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr series, indulges himself when he dusts off Keller. The humor is even more deadpan than usual, and the vignettes (Keller working as a food-service volunteer after 9/11) are quirky diversions. Oddly, Keller the hit man is also a kind of everyman, pondering such universal questions as, Does this assignment compromise my ethics? Will I ever get another job? Block's legion of fans will savor his subtle wit, his consummate narrative skills, and his idiosyncratic method of celebrating the lives of working folks in America. ((Reviewed March 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2006 June #1
Hit man John Keller, the pro's pro, returns in a volume that makes gestures toward being a novel but is mostly a cycle of ten stories, half of them reprints.How can a man root for the Yankees, collect stamps and worry about the fate of fictional bunnies while he's making a living killing strangers? Keller, wondering if he's a sociopath, decides at length that he's not, because the brutal implications of his profession wouldn't bother a sociopath, and it truly bothers Keller to kill a friendly acquaintance who's just made him a generous gift. Several of his current adventures concern relatively routine assignments: an aging baseball player on the brink of two big records, an amateur basketball player whose associates plan more murders than his, a jockey who threatens to upset a race. The most resonant stories mingle problems in the contracts--Keller's difficulty adjusting to 9/11, his halfhearted attempt to drum up some business on his own, his apprehensions about his legacy--with his deepening reflections on his own mortality.Most of the stories don't expand the territory mapped out in Hit Man (1998) and Hit List (2000). But one of them, in which Keller is hired to kill a dog and ends up killing four people along the way, is worth the price of admission. Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2006 April #2
John Keller's back, too, after five years on the lam. He's still in the mood to kill. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 May #1
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) [Page 34]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.