Hit Parade

Hit Parade

Large Print - 2006 | [Large print ed.]
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Baker & Taylor
Introspective professional assassin John Keller continues to ponder his life, the ethics of his lethal career, and his possible retirement as he accepts a couple of dubious contracts.

HARPERCOLL

The New York Times bestselling author and master of the modern mystery returns with a fierce and poignant new novel featuring his acclaimed killer-for-hire, Keller

John Keller is everyone's favorite hit man: a new kind of hero for a new, uncertain age. He's cool. Reliable. A real pro: the hit man's hit man. The inconvenient wife, the aging sports star, the business partner, the retiree with a substantial legacy. He's taken care of them all, quietly and efficiently.

Keller's got a code of honor, though he'd never call it that. And he keeps the job strictly business. "What happens is you wind up thinking of each subject not as a person to be killed but as a problem to be solved. Now there are guys doing this who cope with it by making it personal. They find a reason to hate the guy they have to kill. I don't know what's a sin and what isn't, or if one person deserves to go on living and another deserves to have his life ended. Sometimes I think about stuff like that, but as far as working it all out in my mind, well, I never seem to get anywhere."

But while Keller might be a pragmatic and crack assassin, he's also prone to doubts and loneliness just like everybody else. There was a psychotherapist once. A dog. Even a woman. And though he's got Dot, his wisecracking contact and sometimes confidante, and his precious stamp collection, these days, it doesn't seem to be enough.

Keller's been at this business a long while. Just maybe it's time to pack it in and find a nice little house in the desert. Only problem is, retirement takes money. And to get money, he's got to go to work. . . .

Hit Parade, the third novel featuring the fascinating Keller, displays the hallmarks that distinguish Lawrence Block's award-winning fiction: the intelligence, the clever plotting, the humor, the tricky twists and ironic turns, the darkness and emotional complexity -- and, above all else, the humanity.



Baker
& Taylor

Introspective professional assassin John Keller, the anti-hero of Hit Man and Hit List, continues to ponder his life, the ethics of his lethal career, and his possible retirement as he returns in an all-new mystery adventure. (Mystery & Detective)

Publisher: New York : HarperLargePrint, c2006.
Edition: [Large print ed.]
ISBN: 9780061120855
0061120855
Characteristics: 438 p. (large print) ; 23 cm.

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j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

He had a hunch the hot dogs they sold here at Tarpon Stadium were if anything more dubious in their composition than your average supermarket frankfurter, but that seemed to be beside the point. A ballpark hot dog was just part of the baseball experience, along with listening to some flannel-mouthed fan shouting instructions to a ballplayer dozens of yards away who couldn’t possibly hear him, or booing a pitcher who couldn’t care less, or having one’s chain jerked by a total stranger. All part of the Great American Pastime.
“So how can they play ball in Seattle, Keller? Doesn’t it rain all the time? Or is it one of those stadiums with a lid on it?” “A dome,” he said.
===
“That’s a lot to pay a man to hit a ball with a stick, especially when he doesn’t have to go out and stand around in the hot sun. He just sits on the bench until it’s his turn to bat, right?” “Right.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

“Designated hitter,” Keller said as Floyd Turnbull took a called second strike.” Whoever thought that one up?” “Some marketing genius,” his new friend said.” Some dipstick who came up with research to prove that fans wanted to see more hits and home runs. So they lowered the pitching mound and told the umpires to quit calling the high strike, and then they juiced up the baseball and brought in the fences in the new ballparks, and the ballplayers started lifting weights and swinging lighter bats, and now you’ve got baseball games with scores like football games. Last week the Tigers beat the A’s fourteen to thirteen. First thing I thought, Jeez, who missed the extra point?”
===
“At least the National League still lets pitchers hit.” “And at least nobody in the pros uses those aluminum bats. They show college baseball on ESPN, and I can’t watch it. I can’t stand the sound the ball makes when you hit it. Not to mention it travels too goddam far.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

For most gamblers, though, it was a hobby, a harmless pastime. And just because Keller couldn’t figure out what they got out of it, that didn’t mean there was nothing there.
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…hobby, he suspected, was irrational by definition. As long as you kept it in proportion, you were all right.
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“Wheel them,” the man said and explained that Keller should buy two exacta tickets, Four-Seven and Seven-Four. That way Keller would only collect if the two horses finished first and second. But, since the tote board indicated long odds on each of them, the potential payoff was a big one.
===
…he’d saved himself two dollars, or maybe four, but he’d feel like a piker admitting as much to a man who’d just won over three hundred dollars.
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“I don’t know much about horses.” “They’ve got four legs,” she said,” and if the one you bet on comes in ahead of the others, you make money. That’s

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

“He’d need a tailwind and a whole lot of luck,” the man said,” before he could rise to the level of no chance at all.”
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“The trick,” the fellow said,” is doing the wrong thing at the right time.”
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“When you start at forty-to-one, you need more than good signs. You need a rocket up your ass, either that or you need all the other horses to drop dead.”
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Whole world’s going to hell. They’re taking our rights away one after another. Light turns red because some damn timer tells it to turn red, a man’s supposed to stop what he’s doing and hit the brakes. Don’t matter if there ain’t another car around for fifty miles, he’s gotta stop and stand there like a goddam fool until the light turns green and tells him he can go again. Who wants to live in a country like that? Who wants to bring children into a world where that kind of crap goes on?

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

My eyes are sore, and I figure you’re a sight for them.
===
“Well, they call them rescue workers,” he said,” but they’re not rescuing anybody, because there’s nobody to rescue. Everybody’s dead.”
===
“It’s the same as with the blood,” he said.” The first day, everybody mobbed the hospitals, donating blood for the wounded. But it turned out there weren’t any wounded. People either got out of the buildings or they didn’t. If they got out, they were okay. If they didn’t, they’re dead. All that blood people donated? They’ve been throwing it out.”
===
“I can remember,” he said,” when all you did was step up to the counter and tell them where you wanted to go. You counted out bills, and they were perfectly happy to be paid in cash. You had to give them a name, but you could make it up on the spot, and the only way they asked for identification was if you tried to pay them by check.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

“Someone who lacks a sense of right and wrong,” he said.” He understands the difference but doesn’t see how it applies to him personally. He lacks empathy, doesn’t have any feeling for other people.”
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“It doesn’t sound like you,” she said, ”except when you’re working. Is it possible to be a part-time sociopath?”
===
I’ve done some reading on the subject. Case histories, that sort of thing. The sociopaths they write about, almost all of them have the same three things in their childhood background. Setting fires, torturing animals, and wetting the bed.”
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I remembered raking leaves when I was a kid. It was one of the things I did to make money.” “You want to make twenty bucks here and now, there’s a rake in the garage.” “What we used to do,” he remembered,” was rake them into a pile at the curb, and then burn them. It’s illegal nowadays, because of fire laws and air pollution, but back then it’s what you were supposed to do.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

“Someone who lacks a sense of right and wrong,” he said.” He understands the difference but doesn’t see how it applies to him personally. He lacks empathy, doesn’t have any feeling for other people.”
===
“It doesn’t sound like you,” she said, ”except when you’re working. Is it possible to be a part-time sociopath?”
===
I’ve done some reading on the subject. Case histories, that sort of thing. The sociopaths they write about, almost all of them have the same three things in their childhood background. Setting fires, torturing animals, and wetting the bed.”
===
I remembered raking leaves when I was a kid. It was one of the things I did to make money.” “You want to make twenty bucks here and now, there’s a rake in the garage.” “What we used to do,” he remembered,” was rake them into a pile at the curb, and then burn them. It’s illegal nowadays, because of fire laws and air pollution, but back then it’s what you were supposed to do.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

Frankfort, Kentucky, which happened to be the state capital, although most people would guess it was Louisville.
===
By designating Martinique a part of France, the same as Normandy or Provence, they obscured the fact that the island was full of black people who worked in the fields, fields that were owned by white people who lived in Paris.

===

He was talking to himself, and wondered — wondered in silence, thank God — if this was something new. It was like snoring, he thought. If you slept alone, how would you know if you did it? You wouldn’t, not unless you snored so loudly that you woke yourself up.
===
You got in the car, keyed the ignition, set the controls, and leaned back and closed your eyes. The car followed the turns in the road, and a system of sensors worked the brake when another car loomed in front of you, swung out to pass when such action was warranted, and knew to take the next exit when the gas gauge dropped below a certain level.

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

There’d be some spectacular head-on collisions before they got the bugs out of the system, but before long every car would have it, and the accident rate would plummet and the state troopers wouldn’t have anybody to give tickets to, and everybody would be crazy about technology’s newest breakthrough, except for a handful of cranks in England who were convinced you had more control and got better mileage the old-fashioned
===
It seemed like a lot of trouble to go through, flying all the way to Australia, then getting in the water with a mask and fins. Couldn’t you get pretty much the same effect staring into a fish tank at a pet shop or a Chinese restaurant?
===

“There are security cameras running?” “Twenty-four hours a day. You don’t get in unless your name’s on the list, and the camera’s got a record of when you came and went, and what car you were driving, license plate number and all.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

The living room of the Lattimore house had a cathedral ceiling and a walk-in fireplace. Keller thought the fireplace looked nice, but he didn’t quite get it. A walk-in closet was one thing, you could walk into it and pick what you wanted to wear, but why would anybody want to walk into a fireplace? For that matter, who’d want to hold a prayer service in the living room?
===
“Car trunks have a release mechanism built in these days,” he said.” So kidnap victims can escape.” “You’re kidding,” she said.” The automakers added something for the benefit of the eight people a year who get stuffed into car trunks?”
===
You think of Daniel Boone, who knew it was time to head west when he couldn’t cut down a tree without giving some thought to which direction it was going to fall.
===
Someone had explained why to him once, and he’d understood it at the time, but now all that remained was the fact: the farther you were from the equator, the more extended twilight became.

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j
jimg2000
Jun 05, 2019

Learn about America pastime in sports as the peripatetic killer Keller/philatelist makes his rounds around the country to do his job. His best work chronicled are the one inside a fortress of a gated community in Scottsdale AZ and his dealings with the NYC dog owners. A reread and added quotes this time.

Hit Man (1998) ★★★★ introduces the peripatetic killer Keller and partner/muse Dot
Hit List (2000) ★★★★ perspective on life being a hit man and those on his list.
Hit Parade (2006)
Hit and Run (2008) ★★★★ The hunted Keller saved Julia and began a new life.
Hit Me (2013) ★★★★ Keller, sometimes with Julia's assistance, eliminated targets
Keller's Fedora (2016) (Novella)

m
mammothhawk229e
Jul 11, 2018

Keller the Dogkiller literally the shaggy dog story with hilarious sidedeals.
However, he felt oft-kilter on 9/11 event & new security features.
So sometimes amoral Keller & Dot betray the client for better payoff. Author sure mix it up on financial shenanigans on hypothetical questions to upstanding accountant the former victim.

z
zipread
Jul 02, 2015

Hit Parade --- by --- Lawrence Block.
Block’s protagonist, Keller, undertakes a series of hits, some difficult and some not so. There are always a series of twists and turns, unexpected developments and, sometimes episodes of sheer luck. Engaging: you’ll find yourself rooting for the bad guy.

j
Jennmro
Feb 03, 2011

I always enjoy Lawrence Block and this new character was great!

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