Hit Me

( 20 )

Overview

BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND GRAND MASTER LAWRENCE BLOCK RETURNS TO HIS DEADLIEST HITMAN

A man named Nicholas Edwards lives in New Orleans renovating houses, doing honest work and making decent money at it. Between his family and his stamp collection, all his spare time is happily accounted for. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he used to kill people for a living.

But when the nation's economy tanks, taking the construction business with it, all ...

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Hit Me

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Overview

BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND GRAND MASTER LAWRENCE BLOCK RETURNS TO HIS DEADLIEST HITMAN

A man named Nicholas Edwards lives in New Orleans renovating houses, doing honest work and making decent money at it. Between his family and his stamp collection, all his spare time is happily accounted for. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he used to kill people for a living.

But when the nation's economy tanks, taking the construction business with it, all it takes is one phone call to drag him back into the game. It may say Nicholas Edwards on his driver's license and credit cards, but he's back to being the man he always was: Keller.

Keller's work takes him to New York, the former home he hasn't dared revisit, where his target is the abbot of a midtown monastery. Another call puts him on a West Indies cruise, with several interesting fellow passengers-the government witness, the incandescent young woman keeping the witness company, and, sharing Keller's cabin, his wife, Julia. But the high drama comes in Cheyenne, where a recent widow is looking to sell her husband's stamp collection...

In HIT ME, legendary Edgar Grandmaster and New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block returns to one of his most beloved characters. Welcome back, Keller. You've been missed.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
Aside from their ingenious methodology, what makes these amuse-bouches so delectable are the moral dilemmas Block throws up to deflect his philosophical anti-hero from a given task.
Publishers Weekly
MWA Grand Master Block’s highly enjoyable, episodic third novel featuring philatelist and killer for hire John Keller (after 2008’s Hit and Run) finds Keller living in New Orleans under a new name with his wife, Julia, and their baby daughter. Despite having a legitimate job in real estate, Keller can’t resist resuming his old life after hearing from Dorothea “Dot” Harbison, who often gave him his assignments in the past. In inventive ways, Keller deals with a cheating wife in Dallas, a “felonious monk” in New York City, a cruise ship in Florida with a protected witness aboard, and a wandering husband in Denver. Meanwhile, he continues to build his “worldwide, to 1940” stamp collection. At times casually ruthless in snuffing out targets, Keller is also honest and ethical in his business dealings. A final assignment involving a child suggests that Keller may even play an unfamiliar white knight role, hopefully in the near future. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Feb.)
Entertainment Weekly
One of the finest in the entire Scudder series ... highly recommended."
Time Magazine
A Great American Crime Novel ... good to the last drop. Totally gripping. The perfect introduction to Scudder's shadow-strewn world and the pleasures of Block's crisp yet brooding prose, [and] a bracing distillation of Block's powers.
Wall Street Journal
"Moving ... elegiac ... right up there with Mr. Block's best."
NPR
"Sometimes you open a novel and you just know you're in the hands of a master. In the case of Lawrence Block's latest Matt Scudder mystery, the tipoff is a brazenly simple plot premise, faultlessly executed...Like a lot of great mystery fiction, A Drop of the Hard Stuff is also a ghost story. Matt's attempt to exorcise his phantoms results in a classic tale about the stubborn persistence of memory and regret."
New York Times Book Review
PRAISE FOR A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF:

"Block is a mesmerizing raconteur ... elegiac ... a lament for all the old familiar things that are now almost lost, almost forgotten."

Time
"A Great American Crime Novel ... good to the last drop. Totally gripping. The perfect introduction to Scudder's shadow-strewn world and the pleasures of Block's crisp yet brooding prose, [and] a bracing distillation of Block's powers."
Marilyn Stasio
"Despite claiming he's retired, Lawrence Block can't seem to resist taking a few swigs from the poisoned cup ... Aside from their ingenious methodology, what makes these amuse-bouches so delectable are the moral dilemmas Block throws up to deflect his philosophical anti­hero from a given task."
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"A fine finale for a writer who never stopped growing, and who allowed some of his series characters the same privilege of changing."
Michele Leber
"In the fifth entry in the Keller series (after Hit and Run), the appealing antihero with his own moral code continues to dig into the motives of his distant employers and make his own decisions about who deserves to die. But stamp collecting is more than just a secondary theme here, and Block's discourses about the history behind stamps are vivid enough to pique the interest even of those not at all inclined toward the hobby. Master mystery writer Block is at the top of his form here."
Thomas Gaughan
"It's easy to imagine Block grinning as he reinvents his always fascinating character [Keller]. Block writes so appealingly about the world of philately that some fans might decide to take up stamp collecting. HIT ME is a delightful change of pace."
Associated Press Staff
"In the hands of a lesser writer, the philately passages would be insufferable, but Block makes them interesting in their own right as well a window into the soul of a hit man who can dispatch innocent bystanders without remorse but won't cheat on his wife and insists on being scrupulously honest in the buying and selling of collectible stamps."
The Columbus Dispatch
"Block plays like a master on the consciences of his readers, raising moral dilemmas and then whisking them off behind a diverting bit of dialogue or drama."
The Times-Picayune
"It's a mark of Block's storytelling skill that he can make lengthy philatelic interludes as fascinating as cloaks and daggers ... It'd be a shame to hear no more from one of the most entertaining and unusual characters in the history of crime fiction, now that he's back on the job."
--- NPR
"Sometimes you open a novel and you just know you're in the hands of a master. In the case of Lawrence Block's latest Matt Scudder mystery, the tipoff is a brazenly simple plot premise, faultlessly executed...Like a lot of great mystery fiction, A Drop of the Hard Stuff is also a ghost story. Matt's attempt to exorcise his phantoms results in a classic tale about the stubborn persistence of memory and regret."
—- NPR
"Sometimes you open a novel and you just know you're in the hands of a master. In the case of Lawrence Block's latest Matt Scudder mystery, the tipoff is a brazenly simple plot premise, faultlessly executed...Like a lot of great mystery fiction, A Drop of the Hard Stuff is also a ghost story. Matt's attempt to exorcise his phantoms results in a classic tale about the stubborn persistence of memory and regret."
From the Publisher
"Block plays like a master on the consciences of his readers, raising moral dilemmas and then whisking them off behind a diverting bit of dialogue or drama."—The Columbus Dispatch

"In the hands of a lesser writer, the philately passages would be insufferable, but Block makes them interesting in their own right as well a window into the soul of a hit man who can dispatch innocent bystanders without remorse but won't cheat on his wife and insists on being scrupulously honest in the buying and selling of collectible stamps."—Associated Press

"It's a mark of Block's storytelling skill that he can make lengthy philatelic interludes as fascinating as cloaks and daggers ... It'd be a shame to hear no more from one of the most entertaining and unusual characters in the history of crime fiction, now that he's back on the job."—The Times-Picayune

"A fine finale for a writer who never stopped growing, and who allowed some of his series characters the same privilege of changing."—The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Despite claiming he's retired, Lawrence Block can't seem to resist taking a few swigs from the poisoned cup ... Aside from their ingenious methodology, what makes these amuse-bouches so delectable are the moral dilemmas Block throws up to deflect his philosophical anti­hero from a given task."—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"In the fifth entry in the Keller series (after Hit and Run), the appealing antihero with his own moral code continues to dig into the motives of his distant employers and make his own decisions about who deserves to die. But stamp collecting is more than just a secondary theme here, and Block's discourses about the history behind stamps are vivid enough to pique the interest even of those not at all inclined toward the hobby. Master mystery writer Block is at the top of his form here."—Michele Leber, Library Journal (starred review)

"It's easy to imagine Block grinning as he reinvents his always fascinating character [Keller]. Block writes so appealingly about the world of philately that some fans might decide to take up stamp collecting. HIT ME is a delightful change of pace."—Thomas Gaughan, Booklist (starred review)

At times casually ruthless in snuffing out targets, Keller is also honest and ethical in his business dealings. A final assignment involving a child suggests that Keller may even play an unfamiliar white knight role, hopefully in the near future."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

PRAISE FOR A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF:

"Block is a mesmerizing raconteur ... elegiac ... a lament for all the old familiar things that are now almost lost, almost forgotten."—New York Times Book Review

One of the finest in the entire Scudder series ... highly recommended."
Entertainment Weekly

"A Great American Crime Novel ... good to the last drop. Totally gripping. The perfect introduction to Scudder's shadow-strewn world and the pleasures of Block's crisp yet brooding prose, [and] a bracing distillation of Block's powers."
Time

"Moving ... elegiac ... right up there with Mr. Block's best."
Wall Street Journal

"Sometimes you open a novel and you just know you're in the hands of a master. In the case of Lawrence Block's latest Matt Scudder mystery, the tipoff is a brazenly simple plot premise, faultlessly executed...Like a lot of great mystery fiction, A Drop of the Hard Stuff is also a ghost story. Matt's attempt to exorcise his phantoms results in a classic tale about the stubborn persistence of memory and regret."
—- NPR

Kirkus Reviews
After a full-length novel starring John P. Keller (Hit and Run, 2008), Block retreats to the form he prefers for his peripatetic hit man's outings (Hit Parade, 2006, etc.): a cycle of loosely linked stories. Times are tough for Keller. The squeeze in the real estate market has hurt the rehab construction business he and his partner, Donny Wallings, run in New Orleans, and there's his family to think of: his wife, Julia, who knows about his past even though he married her as Nicholas Edwards, and their daughter, Jenny, who's too young to know a thing about Daddy. So, when a phone call from his old scheduler, Dot Harbison, offers him a job in Dallas just as he's wondering how much he can afford to bid on a rare postage stamp he's got his eye on in the same city, he accepts with scarcely a ripple, and he's back in business again. Like the four commissions that follow, this one, the best of the five, seems simple but is rife with unexpected complications. Once he's hit his stride, and the target, Keller is ready to take out a Catholic abbot who got caught selling black-market kidneys, a wealthy informant headed for the Witness Protection Program, and in the longest and most intricate of these tales, a Denver stamp collector whose house burns to the ground with him inside before Keller can make his move. But can he break his own moral code and kill a likable 14-year-old philatelist whose scheming relatives have their eyes on his trust fund? "Keller's Obligation," the one serious letdown here, ends as it must but not in a way that's going to please the hit man's legion of fans. As usual, the most perceptive insights here depend on the interplay between what's said--endless discussions of early postal variations--and what's pointedly left unsaid time after time.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316224147
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 2/12/2013
  • Series: Keller Series , #5
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 436
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Block is a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, has won multiple Edgar and Shamus awards and countless international prizes. The author of more than 50 books, he lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(4)

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(2)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Slightly Disappointing

    I've been a fan of the Keller series since Hit Man, and have devoured every Keller book or story I could lay hands on. When I finished Hit and Run, I felt sad at the thought of the series coming to an end, yet satisfied that the series had been wrapped up so neatly.

    Then along came Hit Me.

    I was elated. I even did a pre-order, which is a rare thing for me. When the day of delivery came, I cracked open the book with a hunger to learn about how life had progressed for my favorite professional assassin.

    I made it about halfway through, and things were looking good. Then I hit a wall, and I did something I have never done with a Keller novel. I put it down and walked away. I forced myself to pick it up and finish it today, just to be certain I gave it a fair read before reviewing it.

    Here's where I think the author fell flat.

    When you pick up a book about a hit man, you expect to read about assassinations. Not necessarily bloodshed and slaughter. Mr. Block has always been the master of understated action, whether during a hit or in the bedroom. I've always admired him for that, and at the same time, I've often wondered what, if anything, would prompt Mr. Block to reach for greater detail?

    In the second half of this book I found my answer.

    Stamps.

    A man who will gloss over an assassination that had been built up for forty previous pages and clear his throat past a love scene will drone on ad nauseum for page after page about small squares of paper that are no longer even suited for their intended purpose. I felt like a boy asking his grandpa about World War II and having to sit through slides of his 1963 vacation to Stumblef*** Missouri to see the world's largest ball of ear wax instead.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand that Mr. Block's intent was to show Keller/Edward's evolution from hit man to family man. I get that he would have to have a viable means of making money, and that a return to construction as a lucrative trade in today's economy would smack of a Deus Ex Machina. But don't beat us over the head with it.

    If the ending of this book is anything to go by, there will be a sixth book. Knowing myself as I do, I'll end up buying it. I just hope that what I find will be more of the old Keller and less of the Chattering Philatelist.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Keller had to disappear after the mess in a previous novel in th

    Keller had to disappear after the mess in a previous novel in this series, “Hit and Run,” and he is now living in post-Katrina New Orleans under a new name, with a wife and young daughter. More important, he has “retired” from his previous occupation, that of a hired assassin, and is now a partner in a business that acquires dilapidated houses, then rehabilitating and flipping them—at least until the housing market and economy collapsed.

    So, to keep his head above water, sustain his appetite to keep on buying stamps for his collection and just keep himself busy, he allows himself to be talked into accepting an assignment or three. These take him to Dallas, on a Caribbean cruise, thence to Wyoming and Buffalo. And coinciding with each, he manages to indulge his interest in stamps.

    The author manages to keep the reader’s interest at a peak on both subjects, with fascinating twists on each homicide mission. And the cryptic conversations with Dot, who brings him each undertaking, are not only amusing and droll, but in keeping with the over-all tenor of the characters. Of course, the novel is on a par with the high quality of previous Keller books in the series, and is recommended.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    Another great Keller book!

    It bothers me how much I like Keller. Lawrence Block couldn't be boring if he tried. Excellent book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    Recommended, Another "Hit" in the Keller series

    Block follows-up with another good, easy read in the Keller series. This book takes Keller into his new life with a family. Still doing the same work as before, we follow Keller through a series of jobs across the country as he hunts down people and stamps. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2013

    anxiously awaited the arrival of HIT ME, but so disappointed....

    anxiously awaited the arrival of HIT ME, but so disappointed....this is not a novel, but a collection of short stories....so each one spends much time filling in backgroundof keller & his life...then finally a half=hearted assasination attempt ..plus a wife who gets "hot" thinking about her husband's part=time job........miss the keller of old

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    If I am doing what I want, is what I am doing wrong? Keller wal

    If I am doing what I want, is what I am doing wrong?

    Keller walked away from doing the wet work that kept him healthy, wealthy, and a little wiser for the wear.
    He changed his name and settled into domestic bliss that seemed a good fit with a business on the side.  
    Even fatherhood and stamp collecting become his new normal, until the phone rings and an offer he does not
    want to refuse is proposed.  He can always say no, he can always hang up the phone, he can always,
    but he always does the job.  
    Being back in the game means honing covert skills that Keller did not lose but let go a little soft shall we say.  
    He still loves the hunt, has the skills to organize the job down to the finite detail, and never looks back
    after it is completed.  His wife may be reluctant to understand why he is back at the dance but for some
     reason she cannot explain, it does not bother her that the construction business is not how he earns his money.
    Keller moves flawlessly from one offer to the next with a blip or two on the radar and some poorly executed decisions.  
    Overall, the jobs are done and the reaction someone else might have to this line of
    duty is not held close to Keller’s state of mind.

    Lawrence Block constructs the perfect story for every character add a touch of flare to their personality a
    master like Mr. Block can design.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    All the Keller books are exceptional. If you're looking for bloo

    All the Keller books are exceptional. If you're looking for blood or horror this is not for you.

    Keller is just a com;licated guy who kills people for money so he can collect stamps.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    I thoroughly enjoyed it and often couldn't put it down. This is

    I thoroughly enjoyed it and often couldn't put it down. This is my first L. Block book and was intrigued by the Keller character. I was pleased he did his grisly work without a gun and the reader is spared unnecessary gore. As a stamp collector, I especially enjoyed the philatelic references.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    I enjoyed the previous Keller novels, but this one had too much

    I enjoyed the previous Keller novels, but this one had too much information about stamps and Keller's family life. There was not enough of Keller in action.

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  • Posted March 29, 2013

    Highly recommend

    If you are a Keller fan, this book is a must. Keller's life has changed a lot but the recession has caused a downturn in the restoration business so when Dot calls . . . you can guess the rest. Great read.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    Block is a Master

    How can someone write a story where the main character is a murderer and make you like the story, root for the murderer and actually wonder how the story will end. It was Great - Read It.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    Its Lawrence Block

    I'd pay to read Block's shopping list. He's an American treasure, and his latest doesn't disappoint.

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  • Posted March 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Aweful

    He should quit writing! I cannot tell you how disappointed I was when I started reading this book! Don't waste your money!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    Not very good.

    Lawrence Block was recommended to be as an awesome writer, but I found this book disappointing. I had never read anything by this author. Possibly some of his other books are better.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Pat Sisbarro

    This was bad. It was not Block's original work. He delt with stamps collection thought the book. I would recomend the book only for stamp collectors.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    DO NOT TRUST SAME DAY DELIVERY IN MANHATTAN

    DO NOT TRUST SAME DAY DELIVERY IN MANHATTAN

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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