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John Keller Books In Order

Publication Order of John Keller Books

Hit Man (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hit List (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hit Parade (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hit and Run (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hit Me (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Lawrence Block was born on 24th June 1938 in United States. He went to Antioch College but had to left before graduating. He is one of the best crime writers best known for his series about alcoholic P.I. Matthew Scudder and the gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr. One of the earliest novels published under his own name, The Thief Who Could not Sleep (1966), introduced Evan Tanner, whose wound in Korea left him unable to sleep. Block has an Edgar Award and also he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994.

His earliest works were published under other names mostly in soft-porn pulp magazines in 1950s. His first work that appeared under his own name was the 1957 story “You Can’t Lose,” for a crime magazine called Manhunt. Since then he has published more than fifty novels and more than a hundred short stories. Block is not a writer to be confined in just one style of writing. He has written erotic stories, crime novels, has edted anthologies and he has even written a compilation of his recommendations on writing mystery novels. His works ranges from noir investigations of alcoholic detectives to witty adventure of a burglar.

He also has published books under pseudonyms including Jill Emerson, John Warren Wells, Lesley Evans, and Anne Campbell Clarke. Apart from the Edgar award he has won Shamus award, Japanese Maltese Falcon award, Nero Wolfe and Philip Marlowe award and the Diamond Dagger for Life Achievement from Crime Writers Association (UK). Lawrence Block has won more awards than any other living mystery writers. Block has lived in New York for most of his life and his works revolve around this city too. In 2005 he was honored with the Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award. He has three daughters.

Lawrence Block wrote four episodic novels Hit Man (1998), Hit List (2000), Hit Parade (2006) and Hit Me (2013) and also a full length novel Hit and Run (2008) that centers around the life of Keller.

Keller’s full name is John Paul Keller but he is only called Keller in the series. He is originally located in New York City but later he moves to New Orleans and there, lives under the name Nicholas Edwards. Keller is a hit man and receives his duties through a mysterious contact named Dot. Dot passes on commissions from somewhere else. These assignments usually take him to different cities. Keller gets his job done walks out usually in a few hours. And every time he thinks about retiring and settling down in that city. He is quite into stamp collection; he collects non-U.S. issues, prior to 1940.

Keller is actually a pretty decent guy. He loves dogs,He makes a decent wage, lives in a nice apartment, and solves the crossword puzzle. Watches a little TV collects stamps and buys gift for his girlfriend everywhere he goes. And he goes a lot of places for his assignments. Keller is a pro and very good at what he does and although he wants to get the job done and get out of there, he finds himself in awkward situations he has to deal with. And we see his adventures.

Actually the thing about Keller series is the fact that we focus on more to the off-duty Keller. We learn about his fantasies, we learn about the things he likes to do basically we learn about a thick character. He has dreams. He likes to retire and live in whatever city he visits, he dreams of buying a house with his savings, or maybe doing his own business. It is a fun, fast read and unusual character study. At the end we know that Keller is not just a hit man, he is much more than that. He is a real character and that is one of the things that makes this series a must read. After all, Lawrence Block is a great writer to read.

The ten stories in the series each tell a single crime committed by Keller who is a sympathetic characterconsidering his profession. In fact he often thinks about his job and how he got to doing it. And of course because of his job, it is hard for Keller to fro emotional bonds. There is little attention given to the murders of Keller, the main focus is on Keller himself. In short his life is burdened by an unusual profession and the stories are about a man who struggle to search for the meaning of life.

In the first novel, Hit Man, which composed of fragments about life of Keller, one job goes wrong for Keller in a way he never imagines. He is surrounded with a big problem and he finds himself alone with an orphan. Each story deals with the variety of assignments Keller gets and various circumstances that arise. And each story ties perfectly with the previous story. In other words, stories interlock as a way to introduce John Keller. In each story we catch a glimpse into the psychology and methodology of John Keller.

In the second book Hit List, we see that things are not working right for John Keller. He has made into the list of some other hitman. Someone else is trying to get him, and we feel the excitement of how John Keller is going to deal with this situation. His targets die before he could get them, people around him turn up dead, and while he tries to deal with all these we see that he becomes more humane. And this increases the reliability of the character.

Keller is the ultimate creating of Lawrance Block who has a skill for ironic plotting and black humor. At the end of the series you cannot help but love the character, be on his side whenever there arises a problem and laugh along with him. The stories are clever and funny. The books are a delight to read and also touching at the same time. There are realistic dialogues, excellent characterization and clever plotting.

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