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Hit List

(John Keller #2)

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,261 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Keller is a regular guy. He goes to the movies, works on his stamp collection. Call him for jury duty and he serves without complaint. Then every so often he gets a phone call from White Plains that sends him flying off somewhere to kill a perfect stranger. Keller is a pro and very good at what he does. But the jobs have started to go wrong. The realization is slow coming ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by HarperTorch (first published January 1st 2000)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  3,261 ratings  ·  197 reviews


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James Thane
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
As I'm sure I've said before, after Matthew Scudder, my favorite of the characters created by Lawrence Block is Keller, the affable and otherwise somewhat boring hit man. Keller first appeared in a series of short stories, most of which were initially published in Playboy. A number of the stories were then gathered into the collection Hit Man, which was published in 1999. A year later, Keller returned in this novel, which I've just reread for the first time since it came out.

For those who haven'
...more
Tim
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Keller, the most average Joe hit man you will ever read about, returns. This time, Keller continues collecting stamps, he sees movies at the cinema, goes to the beach, attends an art show and serves his time… on jury duty. Yep, Keller’s life is ordinary and slightly dull, but every once in a while he gets a phone call from White Plains and flies off somewhere to kill someone.

He’s a constant professional, but he’s noticing some peculiarities recently. Jobs start going wrong in unexpected ways. F
...more
Dan Schwent
Keller continues on his career path as a professional killer. He has casual relationships with two women, gets picked for jury duty, continues building his stamp collection, and gets weirdly interested in astrology, all the while things start going wrong. Targets die before he can hit them, people around him turn up dead, and all signs point to someone gunning for Keller himself...

Lawrence Block does it again. If anything, Keller seemed more human and relatable in this book than in Hit Man. His
...more
Kemper
Sep 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Keller is a creature of habit. He leads a low-key New York lifestyle and his idea of a good time is collecting stamps. Even his job as a hit man has a certain routine. He gets a job, he flies somewhere, he kills someone, and he flies home.

But weird disruptions are happening to Keller in this second book in the series. A trip to Louisville with complications leaves him out of sorts. Odd events on a couple of other jobs don’t help matters. An offhand comment from a woman he’s seeing leaves him won
...more
Aditya
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember how the seminal HBO series The Sopranos was not really a crime series ala The Shield or The Wire. It was a drama where the protagonist just happened to be a criminal. It is the same here. Hit List is a novel about the life and times of Keller, an assassin for hire. It's not really a thriller and the hits themselves are incidental.

The first book in the series was a collection of short stories, this one is more of an episodic novel. There is an overarching plot about Keller himself being
...more
Glen
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Keller is a hit man.

Every so often, he goes out on a job, but lately, all the jobs are going wrong. Turns out there's a rival hitman out to corner the market.

Not bad, but Keller reminds me a bit too much of Block's other character, Burglar Bernie. I like my hit man novels a little more hard boiled than that.
Mike (the Paladin)
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
The second book in this "series" of books (does no one write stand alone novels anymore?). I am still surprised that I'm interested in these books. A series of novels centering around the exploits and personal life of a professional hit man is not something I would ever have expected to be caught up in.

This volume finds Keller still "employed" after the "passing" of the "Old Man" who used to run the...umm, contracting service. He ran it until he got a little less than compos mentis. Having had a
...more
LJ
Hit List - G+
Lawrence Block - 2nd in series
Keller seems the archetypal contemporary urban man. He lives a mostly solitary and quotidian existence on Manhattan's East Side. He eats out; he ruminates in Seinfeldian fashion about how to "clean his plate" in a restaurant that trumpets a bottomless coffee cup: every time he empties his cup, a waitress refills it. He works on his stamp collection and goes to jury duty when summoned. Occasionally, he visits Dot in White Plains, then goes to Louisville
...more
Stephen
Enjoyed this one which was a novel rather than the first Keller book which was more like a series of related short stories. Not quite a four star one though - found the "jury duty" part a bit of an unnecessary diversion from the main plot (pretty hard even for LB to make his killer being sent on jury duty be very exciting). Clever ending though and he has made me find stamp collecting interesting which probably only he could do. Great potential for this character so on to the next one in the ser ...more
Mojo Shivers
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s always a great time reading about Keller matching wits with a Dexter-like hitman of hitmen, no matter how many times I re-read this book.
Brandon
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2020, block
Someone has been hitting Keller’s targets before he gets the chance. It’s not all bad though as Keller still gets paid in the end. The worrisome part deals with the fact that after murdering his mark, the competing hit man is also trying to kill Keller. Can Keller uncover his stalker before it’s too late?

After I finished the first Keller collection on my Kindle, I immediately picked up book two. Turns out I bought this alongside an Evan Tanner novel a few years ago in a used book store. Lucky me
...more
Shawn
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great sequel in the Keller series. Lawrence Block has crafted a wonderful series that almost makes being a hitman seem fun, definitely interesting. Great characters.
Rob
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Hitman aficianados and people who enjoy repetitive dialog
Recommended to Rob by: Some guy on a plane
Relatively lame. The plot was actually somewhat interesting, but Block's style of dialog between the main characters is obnoxiously repetitive. The book would be 100 pages shorter if he didn't think it was so witty to have characters have conversations like:

"Hi Dot, I'm back in New York."
"I'm not surprised. You live in New York."
"Yes, but I'm back in New York. I was in Louisville."
"I know you were in Louisville. You called me from there."
"Well that's why I'm telling you I'm back in New York now.
...more
Mark
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’m reading several on-going series at the moment, and without a doubt Keller is my favorite lead character. How Block manages to evoke sympathy for a cold-blooded contract killer is a pretty neat trick. In a way, he's a lot like us, except of course for his line of work. I really like this guy, this stamp collecting, dog loving, pensive loner who travels the country and takes out random people with great efficiency.

In this second book, Keller goes about his business as usual, but his sixth sen
...more
Rachel
Jun 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Keller is an avid stamp collector and professional killer. In this quick read, someone is systematically knocking off hitmen, which is a problem for Keller.
I found Keller to be an interesting character, and his conversations with Dot, the woman who sets up his contracts, make for amusing, if highly unlikely, dialogue.
The ending was rather anti-climatic and a bit disappointing, but all-in-all, I liked this one.
This is the first of Lawrence Block's mysteries I've read (though it's apparently
...more
Craig Childs
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Judging from reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, Hit List was not as well-received as Hit Man, the first volume in the series. But I actually liked this one better. Like Hit Man, the story revolves around the wistful, brooding assassin John Keller. The first book was really a collection of barely-related short stories; this novel is episodic, but there is a narrative thread running through most of the stories. It is a darkly comic tale, not really intended to be suspenseful or action-oriented.

I ca
...more
Sara
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed these short stories immensely. Although, I guess they are more episodic than entirely separate.

Block's anti-hero is a rather boring blend into the crowd hit man. He is very normal, except he kills people. And he is likable, and yet - he kills people for hire and does it with about as much emotional angst as someone might have over firing an employee. He's not a sociopath, he's a business man.

Block does an excellent job of making Keller both entirely normal and likeable with homey des
...more
Craig Pittman
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Mystery maestro Lawrence Block brings back his killer named Keller for a second round of mayhem in "Hit List." It's a mixed bag. The first half of the book features some of Keller's usual hitman routine: fly into a town, find his mark, do the job and go home to report to his boss, Dot -- just like the first book. But then some odd things happen, and Keller and Dot figure out that there's a killer who's after Keller -- and any other hitmen he can find as well. He's eliminating his competition. On ...more
Mark
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the crime noir books
Another story about John Keller & Dot. Keller does the killing and Dot takes care of the financials and kill allocations. The last book was mostly made up from short tales this one is one long tale with various jobs being done by Keller. Only this time things are off, strange things that could be coincedences happen like two killings that may or may not involve Keller. Doing the job he does Keller is naturally suspicious and does share his thoughts with Dot who initially does not share Kellers s ...more
Hugh McBride
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If there was any doubt that Lawrence Block is the master of the Mild-Mannered, Stamp-Collecting Hitman genre, HIT LIST should put those doubts to rest. As was the case with HIT MAN, this second installment in Block's "Keller" series is remarkable in terms of both plot & presentation.

In a manner befitting the protagonist, Block takes a minimalist (some might say detached) approach to Keller's experiences, especially those that involve the extinguishing of another person's life. Whether Keller is
...more
Mike McClanahan
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lawrence Block's mind must be an interesting place to live.
How do you mainstream a cold-blooded killer? By making him a stamp-collecting loner who drifts listlessly through life, hooks up with the occasional cynical lover, and has a wise-cracking Westchester County suburbanite who employs him in her off-beat contracting business. One could imagine Dick Powell and Myrna Loy in the parts, presuming they went over to the dark side. And when Keller the Killer finds himself in the crosshairs, you roo
...more
Clyde
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Keller is a generally good guy if a bit boring. An ordinary looking fellow, he lives in New York City where he spends his time working on his stamp collection and for the most part enjoying a quiet life. But every now and then he takes a trip out of town and kills someone. You see, in addition to being an ordinary Joe, Keller is a professional hit man.
In this second Keller book, Keller continues his life without any major disturbances until he breaks his own rule against working in his home
...more
Perry Whitford
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Keller's back, and this time it's personal.

Not on his side, not at first anyway. But when a series of less than coincidental murders start to follow the ones he himself is committing, a worrying pattern emerges - Keller the killer has a killer on his trail.

Who would have believed that the hired execution business could be so cutthroat?

In this third outing for Block's most enjoyable character, Keller and Dot enjoy their usual deadpan conversations about the jobs and other important subjects, suc
...more
David
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: davesbookshelf
It was a pretty good book I thought after reading it. But i did notice that while reading the book that there were some typos, and erros in his Bloxks writting. And also i got lost in the converstations that people were having in the book. I couldnt tell who was saying what he didnt clearly quote whos line was what, and i easliy got lost in it. But other then that he wrote the book pretty well if you look past the errors and typos, and getting lost in the converstaions characters where having.
Mike
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Keller the Everyman assassin really grows on you. I can't feel much kinship with a hitman who has an 8th degree Black belt in several martial arts and can beat the crap out of any six normal thugs at once but Keller is different. He collects stamps, goes to the movies, dates with varying levels of success, visits an analyst and an astrologer ...you know, he's just your average guy. Block does a great job of drawing Keller writing with a very dry sense of humor. I look forward to more Keller adve ...more
Nadine/Dina Bourne
Jul 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who liked the first one
Recommended to Nadine/Dina by: myself read because it is a sequel
Different than the first one, but still worthy of reading. I can't wait to find the 3rd and 4th novels, I am sure they will be worth reading as well. I was a little dissapointed. there were less dead in this one, and someone other than Keller was doing the killing. he only personally killed 7 that is less than half the total death toll. you would think being that he is a killer he would have more notches than that in his oun book. took me 3 nights to read.
Mike
Jun 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Keller, the hitman, is back along with the wisecracking Dot, his "agent" in White Plains, NY. A strangely enjoyable book, Keller does not seem to be a bad guy, just has a job that is occasionally in demand. Keller's hits usually take place off-screen so there are no gory parts. He has a regular, even somewhat boring life with jury duty, stamp collecting and the odd visits to an astrologer. Enjoyable if not exactly a thrill-a-minute. 3 Stars.
Joe
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The 2nd Keller book in the Hitman series and this was an enjoyable read. The plot moves along well, cleverly and is different in the fact that someone is after Keller this time around. The interaction between Keller and Dot is a fun aspect of these novels which makes for some added humour despite Keller’s occupation ! Well recommended and I look forward to working through the remaining novels in this series.
Jim
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
For a book in which the main character is a hired killer, this is a very funny book. The puns, the dialog between Keller and his handler Dot, even the photo of author Lawrence Block dressed in black complete with a beret like the gallery goers he makes fun of. As I said, there is a lot of humor.
I'm a bit sad that I have only one more Keller book to read, he is a very attractive main character.
Yeva
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Glad I went ahead and read the rest of the book. It was really something, and there were parts I had forgotten. For instance, Dot murders someone. How fun! Dot is my favorite character this month.
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Lawrence Block has been writing crime, mystery, and suspense fiction for more than half a century. He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., LB attended Antioch College, but left before completing his studies; school authorities advised him that they felt he’d be happier elsewhere, and he thought this was remarkably perceptiv
...more

Other books in the series

John Keller (5 books)
  • Hit Man (Keller, #1)
  • Hit Parade (Keller, #3)
  • Hit and Run (Keller, #4)
  • Hit Me (Keller, #5)

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