For the first time in a number of years, Lawrence Block returns to his Jill Emerson pseudonym (used first on a few soft-core sex novels and later on more mainstream novels) in GETTING OFF, a new novel coming out soon from Hard Case Crime. The book is subtitled "A Novel of Sex and Violence", and you should believe that, definitely. There's plenty of both in this book.
GETTING OFF follows a young woman originally named Kit Tolliver who uses a number of aliases during the course of the book. She changes her name because she moves around the country all the time, and she moves around because she doesn't want the law to catch up to her. Kit, you see, is a serial killer who has sex with men – lots of men – and then murders them in a number of different ways. During her life, only five men have managed to go to bed with her and survive, through a variety of unusual circumstances. Kit decides to track down all five of them and finish the job, and to do that she has to turn detective.
Block's usual smooth and highly readable prose makes this book a real page-turner, to use a cliché (and something of a misnomer, since I read it in an e-book edition . . . but you know what I mean). You can't say that Kit, as a mass murderer, is really a sympathetic character, but when she encounters people just as bad or worse than her during her quest, the reader can't help but root for her because Block has done such a masterful job of putting us inside her head. There are a few plot twists, a surprising amount of humor, and some inventive scenarios involving both the sex and violence angles.
GETTING OFF is a very well-written novel (no surprise there) with a compelling protagonist. It's a rare book that will get me to stay up late to finish it these days, but this one did. If you're already a Lawrence Block fan, you're probably going to read it anyway. If you're not, you should give it a try. Highly recommended.
FFM/B: New fantasy short fiction on the US newsstands & bookshelves, late 1976: ARIEL, Autumn 1976, edited by Thomas Durwood; CHACAL, Winter 1976, edited by Arnie Fenner and Byron Roark; FANTASTIC, November 1976, edited by Ted White; THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, October, November and December 1976, edited by Edward Ferman; FLASHING SWORDS #3, edited by Lin Carter; WHISPERS, December 1976, edited by Stuart David Schiff; THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY STORIES, Volume 2, edited by Lin Carter; THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES, Series 4, edited by Gerald W. Page
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