Hit Me

Hit Me

A Keller Novel

Book - 2013
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With a new wife and a baby on the way, Keller, a.k.a. Nicholas Edwards, is done killing people for money until a phone call from Dot draws him back into the old game, taking him to Dallas to settle a domestic dispute to New York, where people might remember him.
Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books, c2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316127356
0316127353
Branch Call Number: Mystery Blo
Characteristics: 323 p. ; 24 cm

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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

A sofa in the lobby was worn on the arms, and the wood paneling in one of the elevators needed touching up. None of this bothered Keller, who found the hotel’s faded glory somehow reassuring. What better venue for men of a certain age to compete for little pieces of paper that had done their duty carrying the mail long before any of them were born?
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Some stamps reached out to you while others put you off, and it probably didn’t make any real sense, but the whole hobby was wacky enough to begin with. I mean, spending a fortune on little pieces of colored paper? Picking them up with tongs, putting them in plastic mounts, and securing them in albums? Why, for heaven’s sake?
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If you thought about it, just about everything human beings did was pointless and ridiculous. Golf? Skiing? Sex?
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We network, which means we take in each other’s laundry.”
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… and it couldn’t keep me from feeling time was passing me by.” “That’s what time does.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

“I got married,” she told him, “and don’t bother congratulating me, because it didn’t work out.” “That was quick.” “For you, maybe. You weren’t there.”
===
“It’s not as though I turned into whistle bait, and what would he want with a woman old enough to use a term like that? Whistle bait, for God’s sake.” “I guess people don’t say that anymore.” “They don’t whistle much, either.”
===
Starting in 1850, Austria produced stamps for Lombardy-Venetia, essentially identical to regular Austrian issues but denominated in centesimi and lire and, after 1858, in soldi and florins. Then in 1859 Lombardy was annexed to Sardinia, and seven years later Venetia became a part of the kingdom of Italy.
===
I’m too old to chase ’em nowadays, but when I used to go out looking to pick up a woman, I’d tell myself maybe I’d get lucky. But you reach a point where getting lucky means going home alone.
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All the excitement and none of the risk—like watching a murder mystery on television.

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

Old enough to vote, old enough to drink…and old enough to be killed? Was he being politically incorrect by giving her a pass on the basis of her height? Was he being…well, he wasn’t sure the word existed, but was he being a sizeist? A heightist? Was he altitudinally prejudiced?
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Keller had read somewhere that all of man’s difficulties stemmed from his inability to sit alone in a room. The line stayed with him, and a while ago he’d Googled his way to its source. Someone named Pascal had made the observation, Blaise Pascal, and it turned out he’d said a lot of other interesting things as well, but all but the first one had slipped Keller’s mind.
===
I’ve bought some things I shouldn’t have over the years, and I’ve paid too much for some of them, but that sort of thing never bothers me for more than a minute or two. It’s the ones that get away that drive you crazy.

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

“And now he’s got to live with the guilt.” “Keller,” she said, “everybody’s got to live with something.”
===
“Kiauchau,” he told Jenny, “was an area of two hundred square miles in southeast China. The Germans grabbed it in 1897, and then made arrangements to lease it from China.
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Keller. Who, in a manner of speaking, fixed people.
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“It’s a bomb-sniffing dog, you moron,” someone else said. “It’s cute, whatever it is,” a woman said. “We had one just like that when I was a kid,” a man said. “Dumber than dirt. Couldn’t find food in his dish.”
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“You hate to give back money.” “I do,” she said, “because once I have it in hand I think of it as my money, and giving it back is like spending it, and what am I getting for it? Well, in this case what we’re both getting is piece of mind, and you could say we’re paying for it with somebody else’s money.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

Phone calls in New Orleans seemed to go on longer than in most places, especially if there was a woman on either end of the line.
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Alphabet City had already changed substantially when Keller was last there, its nasty tenements getting rehabbed left and right for young monied tenants. Now it was even harder to recall what a foul pit it had once been.
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You know what they say about absence? Well, it’s not just the heart that grows fonder.
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So he told her how the Belgian portion of German East Africa had been known as Ruanda-Urundi, but when it became independent it split into two countries, Rwanda and Burundi.
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“Do you even know what baptism is for?” “Isn’t it to make you a Catholic?” “No, darling, guilt is what makes you a Catholic. What baptism does is rid you of original sin.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

“Keller, how many times have the cops mailed out announcements to all the mopes with outstanding wants and warrants? ‘You just won a free flat-panel plasma TV! Show up such and such a place, such and such a time, to claim your prize!’ These are wanted criminals, Keller, and you’d think if they wanted a television set they’d go out and steal one, but year after year the cops throw a party like this, and year after year morons show up for it.”
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What I’m about is the subject’s in the crosshairs and a single well-placed shot puts him forever in the past tense.
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…most of the people in the room looked as though they’d had their AARP cards long enough to forget where they’d put them.
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And if his companion was indeed of the va-va-voom sort, and if this was a maiden voyage for the two of them, well, it stood to reason that the man might be reluctant to leave his cabin, at least for the first day or two.

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

The man playing Mr. December to her Miss May? Except that sweet young thing’s barely made it into April. Is statutory rape legal in international waters?
===
The contrast between the two of them, dramatic enough in the dining room, was far greater beneath the sun. Earlier he’d looked old enough to be her father, or perhaps her father’s older brother; now you’d be more apt to cast him as her dead grandfather.
===
“Hell, who needs a motive? I’d kill him myself if I thought it’d get me a shot at her.” “Oh, Roy,” Myrt said, and swatted him with her napkin. “Am I gonna have to keep you on a leash?” “Arf arf,” Roy said.
===
“She’s from the Philippines.” “I think they all are.” “Uh-huh. All the dining room and housekeeping staff, and the ones on the desk. The cruise director and his staff are American, except for the ones who aren’t. And the crew’s a mini United Nations, with a lot of Eastern Europeans. The chef is Swiss. Pilar doesn’t like the Ukrainians.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

“There are approximately a third of a million Icelanders,” he said, as softly as he said everything, “and they are all descended from five Viking men and four Irish women.
===
…the only real pirates in the Caribbean these days were running gift shops.
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The British Virgins. You know what a British virgin is? A ten-year-old girl who can run faster than her brothers. Actually, that’s an old joke about Cajuns.
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“Kissing her. It must have been, that woman’s one of the chief causes of global warming.”
===
“And another little collection I’ve got,” Roy said, “is mourning covers. You probably know what those are.”
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His bed’s the size of a tennis court, and I bet he spends more on Viagra than you spend on stamps.
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“Bread upon the waters,” she said. “You’ll see.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

A perfin and precancel collector he’d met at a show had told him about it, how the woman from Homeland Security had glared at his tongs as if they were an AK-47. “Look at this,” she’d said, holding them aloft. “Five, six inches long! Made of steel! You could put somebody’s eye out with these!” “I extended my index finger,” the man told Keller, “and I was just about to point out how easily I could use it to gouge her eye out, but something stopped me.”
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Keller, who hadn’t needed to use the toilet, flushed it anyway in the interests of verisimilitude.
===
“I know, it’s like that essay everybody had to read in high school, burning down the house to roast the pig. I forget who wrote it.” “Charles Lamb.”
===

She’d prepared coq au vin. The coq, she told him, had grown up a mile and a half away, where he and his flock mates ranged free and enjoyed an organic diet.

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

“He had to do a certain amount of travel for his business, and if he had an opportunity for a dalliance, he was free to pursue it. When he was at home he was married, and faithful. When he was miles away, he was a free agent.”
===
You can buy a decent copy of the regular stamp, Scott C3, for around a hundred dollars. If you want the error, with the plane upside down, you’ll probably have to spend over a million.
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“Stamps are educational,” she said, “even when it’s your father who collects them. I’ll bet there’s not a kid in her whole day care center who knows a damn thing about the Turco-Italian War and the Treaty of Roseanne.” “Lausanne.” “I was close. Lausanne’s in Switzerland, isn’t it? Or am I thinking of Lucerne?” “They’re both in Switzerland.” “Both of them? That’s confusing, isn’t it?”

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m
mammothhawk229e
Jul 09, 2018

Novel divided into short stories format.
Over the top? Perhaps.
Character evolved? Oh, yeah He became a picker as his new cover story.
Success hampered by human nature. Yep.
LOL? Of course especially when he played American Picker on a Honey hole in widow's home & he almost forgot his assigned hit.

j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

Fifth and latest novel on hit man Keller, last was ten years ago in “Hit and Run 2008” when he escaped the law and the crooks who set him up for a high profile murder. On the run, he saved Julia who was under attack in a park and began a new life ... This novel picked up from there in 2013. As expected, more stories from Block on how Keller and Dot, sometimes with Julia's assistance, eliminated targets under his social cover as a philatelist and now a regular family man. A lot more finer points on stamp collecting but only “covers” as Keller "fixed people." The ending suggests a modification to the characteristics of Keller's future targets. Some of the humor are over the top but LOL! (see Quotes.)

z
zipread
Apr 18, 2015

Hit Me --- by --- Lawrence Block.
I could easily have put this book away after the first fifty pages (the Rule of 50): it just failed to engage. I thought maybe this novel was too sophisticated for me: no car chases or things blown up in the first ten pages: I’ve been reading way too much Cussler. But then I persevered and found that “Hit Me”, written about a hit man, ergo: Hit Man, did in fact tell a nice little story that you did want to see through to its final conclusion. You might be tempted to think of this novel as a detective novel. Except it isn’t. The star of the novel isn’t about a good guy charged on brining the bad guy to justice. No. Its about a bad guy going to kill a bunch of good guts. Except they’re not good guys: they’re all guys who had it coming to them. By the time you get involved in this novel you’ll find yourself rooting for Keller, the hit man. You end up holding your breath, hoping he won’t get caught; hoping the “job” will turn out allright. But then he gets his last assignment and that’s a complication.

gusanita Sep 06, 2013

First time I read one of Block's books. It's a bit morbid as how Keller goes about his contracts with little regard to human life but its his job. I do like the info about stamp collecting, you get t learn a bit about dead countries. Nice read, could not put the book down, fisnished it in one sitting.

B2K2rEaD Aug 15, 2013

Different style - some stories are left open !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

r
robhoey
Aug 04, 2013

A decent book but definitely not Block's best. It was difficult for me to sympathize with a hired killer and while Block tried to use humour to make me feel like Keller was cool, I felt he was cold. It felt like a dislikeable Dexter.

d
deRougemont
May 30, 2013

It is no accident that Lawrence Block has been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and has more domestic and international awards for his crime fiction than can be easily transported in a delivery truck.
In “Hit Me” he is at the top of his form. Who else could write a captivating book about a professional hit-man that contains not a single scene of murder and mayhem. His protagonist, Keller, carries out his assignments with skill and economy, but is far more interested in his family and his passion for philately than his assignments. Wonderful observations of people in ordinary situations and superb dialogue that would seem almost nonsensical at times if it were not so typical of how people actually talk to each other, combined with an appealing central character make this 5th entry in the “Keller” series a delightfully entertaining read.

emily8 May 04, 2013

recommend - always better to read a series in order (for me) - more nuance - like this and matthew and bernie series' also... he is still cranking out terrific stuff and since 1958...

d
Daphne57
Mar 28, 2013

Everything I ever wanted to know about philatelists and their collections. An enjoyable read!

MBSL500 Mar 14, 2013

Agree w/ dcafk....Lawrence Block and Keller always satisfy.
This book seemed like a series of semi-connected short stories, which was ok, I guess.

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j
jimg2000
Feb 21, 2018

A good source on the Glossary of Stamp-Collecting:

https://www.linns.com/insights/glossary-of-philatelic-terms.html

Glossary Of Philatelic Terms

October 27, 2017 04:30 PM

This glossary defines nearly 300 terms frequently encountered by stamp collectors and cover collectors. Precise definitions for many philatelic terms do not exist. One collector, dealer or society may define a term in one way, while others will use the term in a slightly different way.

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s
SEBoiko
Jun 10, 2014

Other: Philatelic Theme

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