Wednesday 13 May 2020



In this brand-new novella, Keller, everyone's favorite assassin for hire, is Chicago-bound on Amtrak's City of New Orleans, ready to do what he does best. But it's complicated. Usually there's someone ready to point him toward the target. Or he'll have a photo, say. Or, bare minimum, a name and address.

Not this time. When he gets to Baker's Bluff, Illinois, he'll have to play private detective before he can get down to business. Well, okay. He knows how it works. So before he boards his train, before he even packs his suitcase, Keller buys a fedora.

Keller, a faithful husband, doting father, and dedicated philatelist, has become a guilty pleasure for an increasing number of listeners. They don't think they should like the guy - but they just can't help themselves.

Cover design by Adil Dara.

Second time around for this one, audible this time and just as good as the first, if not better. Narrated by Lawrence Block himself and I really enjoyed hearing him speak for the first time. Reminded me of Willem Dafoe, having just recently seen the man in a couple of films. His narration adds an intimacy to the story.

Keller's retired from the hit man game, only all of a sudden he is isn't but in an amusing diversion from previous tales he has to play detective to identify his target. Fortunately it's not the grocery boy at the local mall, the surprising recipient of a sneaky hand shandy from the amoral wife of his employer. Keller has to track down the man who has been enjoying the favours of his employer's wife while the man's away at work.

I liked the frequent trips to and from Baker's Bluff, the casual rapore with the train conductor and the familiarity that develops between the two. I liked Keller's acquisition of a fedora, the chats with the shopkeeper who sold him it, his wife and the guys in the bar who noted his wearing it and its subsequent absence.

Keller proves to be an accomplished detective and gets to have a couple of bites of the cherry in respect of earning Dot, his handler and himself a couple of decent paychecks. The second one after Keller proverbially pulls the pin from the hand grenade and walks away.

5 from 5

Read - (listened to) April, 2020
Published - 2016
Page count - 96 (2 hrs 25 mins)
Source - Audible download code received from author's assistant
Format - Audible


The Block and Keller double act again with plenty of the mundane included.  Mundane in Block’s hands is entertaining and amusing as opposed to dull and dreary. We have a bit of hat-buying, a discussion or two on stamp collecting – Keller’s hobby, a bit of home life background – when he’s not killing people Keller has a normal life as a husband and father and a house renovator-cum-painter and decorator and a few train journeys to Baker’s Bluff.

The train journey’s and possibly the hat-buying are job related, Keller’s assignment is to kill a cheating wife’s boyfriend. Only thing is the cuckolded husband doesn’t know who the other man in his wife’s life is. Keller’s playing PI, hence the fedora. A bit of a stakeout ensues and one thing Keller’s sure of is that it isn’t the grocery boy who got a $2 tip and a quick five-knuckle shuffle with a happy ending in the car park of the supermarket for his helpfulness in loading up the lady’s groceries.

Keller – without spoilers - gets his man, doesn’t he always. But our tale has a twist and a bloody sting in the tale. The lady who isn’t a lady at all is still hungry for men and still playing the field. Keller again identifies the culprit and having compromised himself by ending up drinking with the guy, employs a bit of lateral thinking and subterfuge to ensure the deed gets done. 

No happy endings for anyone really – apart from Dot and Keller – who won’t be refunding any money.

4.5 from 5

Read in February, 2018
Published – 2016
Page count – 96
Source – Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle



  1. Yes! You tipped me off about this a while back and I read and posted on it - I loved it, and of course enjoyed finding nice pictures of fedoras and dealing with the history of fedoras...

    1. Boom, I do like it when your taste and mine collides. I might have soemthing else from Block which is up your street.