Thursday, August 07, 2008

Book: Hit and Run, by Lawrence Block (2008)

The philatelist assassin Keller returns in the latest from Lawrence Block. He’s in Iowa on what’s supposed to be his last job, and we all know how those turn out. (Why not just spontaneously decide to quit, so you’ll have wrapped up your last job before you know that’s what it is? That’s my plan.) He’s so focused on his target and his stamps that he barely notices it’s election season. He becomes aware of it in a big hurry when one of the presidential candidates is gunned down, and Keller becomes the sole suspect. After all, who better to frame for murder than a professional killer?

With that premise, you might expect a globetrotting, grandstanding international thriller. I certainly did. But Block works against those expectations, delivering a sweaty, close-quarters novel that has more in common with the Gold Medal books of his early career. How can Keller make his way across the country without cash or a workable identity when he’s the subject of a manhunt? How can he rebuild his life? The big questions of who’s behind the assassination and why are answered, but in an almost throwaway manner. It’s amazing how effective that approach is. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Lawrence Block takes a crackerjack set-up and turns it into what he does best: a Lawrence Block novel.

Sports: An Open Letter to Brett Favre

Dear Brett,

I thought you should know that your recent shenanigans have not only tarnished your NFL legacy, they have also completely ruined the ending of There’s Something About Mary for me. Thanks, champ.

Vince Keenan

PS. You should have gone to Tampa.

Miscellaneous: Video Link

Tough day? Why not practice the art of relaxating?