Sequel to Block’s previous work, Hit Man, a gripping insight into the life of a paid assassin who finds his way on to someone else’s hit list.
Superficially, John Keller – the urban lonely guy of assassins – leads a normal life despite his profession. He has an office manager, the breezily efficient Dot, who organises his “jobs” and reassures his grumbling conscience. He is an obsessive stamp collector. In a blackly comic twist, he even gets called for jury service. Laid back, couldn’t care less, morally distanced from his vocation, Keller is an intriguing character. A visit to an astrologer tells him, and us, that he is a gentle man who is simply surrounded by violence rather than being a perpetrator of it. His professional satisfaction, we learn, comes from “solving a problem”. Taking lives causes him no real anxiety.
And then Keller’s jobs start to go wrong. Targets die before he can get to them. Gradually he realises that he is being stalked. Another hitman is trying to weed out the competition and kill him. Keller and Dot try to turn the tables but how many innocents will get caught in the crossfire before Keller is truly safe?