Thursday, June 02, 2016

Keller's Fedora - Lawrence Block

I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk in recent days, but I know how to cure that. I just reach for a Lawrence Block book. Block’s combination of plot, character, and some of the most readable prose in the business always reminds me why I love being a reader.

In this case, it was KELLER’S FEDORA, the most recent tale about Block’s hitman character. Block calls it a novella; at approximately 25,000 words, I tend to think of it as more of a short novel. But why quibble as long as the yarn is good, and it certainly is. As the story opens, Keller is mostly retired from his criminal profession and is living in New Orleans with his wife and daughter, collecting stamps and working as a building contractor. His former handler Dot contacts him with a possible job: rich guy has a trophy wife, trophy wife has a lover, rich guy wants lover gotten rid of. The potential client doesn’t know the lover’s identity, though, so Keller will have to function like a private eye and discover who the man is. So Keller buys a fedora, on what’s pretty much a whim, and sets out to do the job.

Of course, things turn out to be more complicated than that, although not extraordinarily so, but enough that Keller has to make two trips across the country to straighten things out and tie everything up in the sort of neat package he usually does. Along the way there’s plenty of fine dialogue and some pointed observations about modern life. It makes for effortless, entertaining reading, and that’s why I give KELLER’S FEDORA a high recommendation, whether you’re stuck in a reading funk or not.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've got some old reliables as well. James Reasoner for one. :)

Neil A. Waring said...

Have not read this one yet, but Block is one of my all time favorites. Sounds like a good tale.

Jeff Meyerson said...

OK, you sold me. Well, Block and Keller did, but you closed the deal.