Hitman (Stanley Hastings Series #16)

( 2 )


The new Stanley Hastings novel featuring the unlikeliest private eye in New York City.
Private eye Stanley Hastings doesn't want for idiosyncrasies, as fans of this long-running "unconventional" and "very funny" (says the New York Times) mystery series know. For instance, he doesn't carry a gun. So he seems a particularly improbable choice, among all of New York City's private investigators, for the cold-eyed Martin Kessler.Not that Kessler requires firepower. He's got a gun of ...
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The new Stanley Hastings novel featuring the unlikeliest private eye in New York City.
Private eye Stanley Hastings doesn't want for idiosyncrasies, as fans of this long-running "unconventional" and "very funny" (says the New York Times) mystery series know. For instance, he doesn't carry a gun. So he seems a particularly improbable choice, among all of New York City's private investigators, for the cold-eyed Martin Kessler.Not that Kessler requires firepower. He's got a gun of his own—an automatic with a long, ugly silencer—although he'd like to retire it. A contract killer who wants out of the game, Kessler hires Stanley mostly to watch his back in the event that someone of similar professional skills is shadowing him. Someone is, in fact, only Stanley fails to spot him and dead bodies are soon piling messily up. The hapless Stanley thus begins an odyssey around Manhattan in his attempt to uncover just what did go down, and why, during his client's last, decidedly dirty, job.
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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Fans of this offbeat series already know that the chances of Stanley's getting anything right are fairly slim. But the fun of having him around again, if just to ponder the modern-day failure of the Socratic method, is worth the agony of watching him trip over his own feet or lose yet another intellectual argument with his wife. Hitman is the kind of pithy, clever, modestly erudite mystery that was once a genre staple. It's nice to know somebody still has the knack.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Stanley Hastings, the hapless PI who's recently taken somewhat of a backseat to Hall's Cora Felton "puzzle lady" series (You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled, etc.), reappears for his 16th case, the first since 2003's Manslaughter. Not to be confused with the macho type who carries a rod and gives or takes a beating in the course of his investigations, Stanley is more likely to have his ego beaten down by his caustic wife, Alice; long-suffering Sergeant MacAullif; or profit-hungry lawyer Richard Rosenberg, Stanley's only steady client. When hit man Martin Kessler retires before completing his final contract and hires Stanley to protect him from his irate employers, the bodies-and the absurdities-start piling up. The laughs aren't as frequent as in Stanley's prior outings, but the convoluted conclusion produces the kind of rueful groan elicited by a good shaggy dog story. It's good to see Stanley returning to the lists, even in such a humble offering. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Martin Kessler, a hit man for the mob, hires PI Stanley Hastings (Manslaughter) to protect him from his employers. Kessler does not want to kill the person he has been hired to take out and knows that he will be next on the list if he doesn't finish the job. Although warned not to take the case, Hastings does so anyway and soon finds himself in trouble with the law. Witty repartee and fast-paced plots are Hall's forte, and here he treats his readers to a tense, compelling thriller. Hall, author of the "Puzzle Lady" series, lives in New York City.

—Jo Ann Vicarel
Library Journal
The hapless P.I. botches the job to protect a contract killer in this 16th case by the author of the Puzzle Lady and Steve Winslow series. Hall lives in New York City. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Slip-and-fall specialist Stanley Hastings has had cases that take him out past his depth before (You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled, 2006, etc.), but never quite as fast as his first meeting with a client who identifies himself as a hit man. Nobody wants a contract killer as a client. So when high-school English teacher Martin Kessler tells Stanley Hastings that he moonlights as a contract killer, Stanley insists on turning their consultation into a torrent of hypotheticals and stonewalls until Kessler tells him that he's been offered a commission he doesn't want to carry out and asks Stanley to follow him and make sure he doesn't kill the unidentified target. Though he bridles at the ethical dilemma, Stanley, never the smartest shamus, takes the case. His decision finds him (1) following a man who's following another man; (2) sketching out scenarios to his long-suffering wife involving multiple hit men; (3) being on or near the scene of several shootings; and (4) lying to the police when he's called into the morgue to identify the body of his client, who (surprise!) isn't who he said. Unlike most of Stanley's cases, which start with a great idea and then gradually run out of steam, this one begins with an idiotic premise and then gradually works its way through an endless filigree of Q-and-A to a surprisingly logical solution.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605980256
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Series: Stanley Hastings Series , #16
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Parnell Hallis an Edgar, Shamus, and Lefty nominee, and is the author of the Stanley Hastings private eye novels, the Puzzle Lady crossword-puzzle mystery series, and the Steve Winslow courtroom dramas. An actor, screenwriter, and former private investigator, Hall lives in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An enjoyable mystery told with wit

    I picked this book up simply because it was on the new books bookshelf at the library and it seemed to be a mystery. Since I've read none of this series nor any other works by this writer, I didn't know what to expect. I enjoyed Mr. Hall's style in that he shows wit while telling an engaging tale. His characters are interesting and the story flowed well. Being a mystery, I look for clues that will allow me to get to the culprit before the writer has to explain it all. Mr. Hall does a very good job of doing this especially with the wonderful dialog between Stanley, his main character, and Alice, Stanley's wife.

    Stanley is hired by a hitman who wants him to prevent him from carrying out his assignment. A private investigator for a member of the plaintiff's bar, Stanley accepts the assignment only to become engulfed in a series of killings.

    If you enjoy mysteries, you should enjoy this one. It may even make you want to find previous mysteries in this series.

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

    Posted May 30, 2009


    I thought this would be a winner--after all, it's about an English teacher who is a hitman, but it is so studied, so unfunny, and so unsuspenseful that it's an embarrassment to its genre--and to English teachers like me.

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