Book Review - Hit and Run by Lawrence Block

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hit and Run
Author: Lawrence Block
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow

Crime capers, particularly intelligent crime capers, are a joy to read. Lawrence Block is a veteran of the anti-hero genre and so with ease and skill begins the story of a hitman who's hired to kill one man and framed for the murder of another, a very high-profile politician. A reader can't help but feel sympathetic towards Keller the Killer (lol) as he finds out he's been framed even as in reality he's been innocently occupied in buying stamps to add to his collection while waiting for the go-ahead on a hit that never happens. For the first time ever, Keller's face is known to the cops and soon all of America knows him to be a wanted man.

Technologically-challenged he may be, but Keller's no fool and methodically thinks his way out through his predicament, which includes having to elude law officials everywhere while being unable to use his credit card and with his cash almost all gone. Readers will catch their breath as Keller time and again narrowly avoids detection and ultimately manages to escape the city of Des Moines. But the danger is just beginning and Keller, who thinks he'll be safe by making his way back to his home city of New York, ultimately realizes there is nowhere safe for him.

This book is actually the fourth story in the Keller series. But the excellent stand-alone way it's written, I couldn't tell it was. I loved the premise which is at once hilarious and ironic. The exciting first half, which I liked a lot, is devoted mainly to introducing and boding the readers to Keller and his perilous journey to freedom. The way Block writes makes the reader one with Keller and his thought processes which are naturally filled with turmoil and yet still full of deviousness. The second half was a bit disappointing as it takes an unexpected, yet predictable turn. I also found some minor flaws in the plotting and the golf scene towards the end could have been a little shorter although its length does provide the protagonist with ample time for introspection.

In Short 
Despite all its flaws, Hit and Run works out great and is an engrossing read. Given the ending, I wonder if the series is coming to an end or has, in fact, ended?

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