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About Lawrence Block
Lawrence Block was born in Buffalo, New York in 1938. He attended Antioch College in Ohio then went to work in the mailroom of a New York publisher. His first story was published in 1957 and he has gone on to write more than thirty novels and countless stories and articles, not just under his own name but also as Paul Kavanagh. Indeed Lawrence Block has had several pseudonyms having learned his writer's art crafting erotic literature as Andrew Shaw, Sheldon Lord and Jill Emerson!
In 1994 Lawrence Block won the Mystery Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and has also won Edgar, Shamus, and Maltese Falcon awards for his work. In 2004 Lawrence Block was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for a lifetime's achievement in crime writing.
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For years now Keller's had places to go and people to kill.
But enough is enough. Just one more job—paid in advance—and he's going to retire. Waiting in Des Moines for the client's go-ahead, Keller's picking out stamps for his collection at a shop in Urbandale when somebody guns down the charismatic governor of Ohio. Back at his motel, Keller sees the killer's face broadcast on TV. A face he's seen quite often. Every morning. In the mirror.
Keller calls his associate Dot in White Plains, but there's no answer. He's stranded halfway across the country, and every cop in America has just seen his picture. His ID and credit cards are no longer good, and he just spent almost all of his cash on the stamps.
A man named Nicholas Edwards lives in New Orleans renovating houses, doing honest work and making decent money at it. Between his family and his stamp collection, all his spare time is happily accounted for. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he used to kill people for a living.
But when the nation's economy tanks, taking the construction business with it, all it takes is one phone call to drag him back into the game. It may say Nicholas Edwards on his driver's license and credit cards, but he's back to being the man he always was: Keller.
Keller's work takes him to New York, the former home he hasn't dared revisit, where his target is the abbot of a midtown monastery. Another call puts him on a West Indies cruise, with several interesting fellow passengers -- the government witness, the incandescent young woman keeping the witness company, and, sharing Keller's cabin, his wife, Julia. But the high drama comes in Cheyenne, where a recent widow is looking to sell her husband's stamp collection . . .
In Hit Me, legendary Edgar Grandmaster and New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block returns to one of his most beloved characters. Welcome back, Keller. You've been missed.
The pretty young prostitute is dead. Her alleged murderer—a minister's son—hanged himself in his jail cell. The case is closed. But the dead girl's fatherhas come to Matthew Scudder for answers, sending the unlicensed private investigator in search of terrible truths about a life that was lived and lost in a sordid world of perversion and pleasures.
Keller is friendly. Industrious. A bit lonely, sometimes. If it wasn't for the fact that he kills people for a living, he'd be just your average Joe. The inconvenient wife, the troublesome sports star, the greedy business partner, the vicious dog, he'll take care of them all, quietly and efficiently. If the price is right.
Like the rest of us, Keller's starting to worry about his retirement. After all, he's not getting any younger. (His victims, on the other hand, aren't getting any older.) So he contacts his "booking agent," Dot, up in White Plains, and tells her to keep the hits coming. He'll take any job, anywhere. His nest egg needs fattening up.
Of course, being less choosy means taking greater risks—and that could buy Keller some big trouble. Then again, in this game, there are plenty of opportunities for some inventive improvisation . . . and a determined self-motivator can make a killing.
Keller is a regular guy. He goes to the movies, works on his stamp collection. Call him for jury duty and he serves without complaint. Then every so often he gets a phone call from White Plains that sends him flying off somewhere to kill a perfect stranger. Keller is a pro and very good at what he does. But the jobs have started to go wrong. The realization is slow coming yet, when it arrives, it is irrefutable: Someone out there is trying to hit the hit man. Keller, God help him, has found his way onto somebody else's hit list.
Small-time stoolie, Jake " The Spinner" Jablon, made a lot of new enemies when he switched careers, from informer to blackmailer. And the more "clients", he figured, the more money -- and more people eager to see him dead. So no one is surprised when the pigeon is found floating in the East River with his skull bashed in.And what's worse, no one cares -- except Matthew Scudder. The ex-cop-turned-private-eye is no conscientious avenging angel. But he's willing to risk his own life and limb to confront Spinner's most murderously aggressive marks. A job's a job after all -- and Scudder's been paid to find a killer -- by the victim...in advance.
Bad cop Jerry Broadfield didn't make any friends on the force when he volunteered to squeal to an ambitious d.a. about police corruption. Now he'saccused of murdering a call girl. Matthew Scudder doesn't think Broadfield's a killer, but the cops aren't about to help the unlicensed p.i. prove it -- and they may do a lot worse than just get in his way.
In the dark days, in a sad and lonely place, ex-cop Matt Scudder is drinking his life away -- and doing "favors" for pay for his ginmill cronies. But when three such assignments flow together in dangerous and disturbing ways, he'll need to change his priorities from boozing to surviving.
From Booklist (Starred Review):
“Block's unlicensed New York City investigator Matt Scudder debuted 40 years ago but has been absent for the last decade… Block has never been predictable, as this novella demonstrates… A superb book and a reminder to his longtime fans that this crime-fiction master hasn't lost his touch.”
From Publishers Weekly:
“If brevity keeps all the usual supporting characters from returning, some nice nostalgic mentions will reassure fans that they haven’t been forgotten. It’s good to see Matt back in action.”
This ebook edition of A Time to Scatter Stones also includes as a bonus Lawrence Block's introduction to his new Subterranean Press anthology, At Home in the Dark.
Bernie Rhodenbarr has gone legit -- almost -- as the new owner of a used bookstore in New York's Greenwich Village. Of course, dusty old tomes don't always turn a profit, so to make ends meet, Bernie's forced, on occasion, to indulge in his previous occupation: burglary. Besides which, he likes it.
Now a collector is offering Bernie an opportunity to combine his twin passions by stealing a very rare and very bad book-length poem from a rich man's library.
The heist goes off without a hitch. The delivery of the ill-gotten volume, however, is a different story. Drugged by the client's female go-between, Bernie wakes up in her apartment to find the book gone, the lady dead, a smoking gun in his hand, and the cops at the door. And suddenly he's got to extricate himself from a rather sticky real-life murder mystery and find a killer -- before he's booked for Murder One.
"What a treat! Catnip to Bernie disciples!" —Booklist
Four decades ago, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block introduced the world to one of his most beloved and enduring creations: Bernie Rhodenbarr, the clever, nimble-fingered star of novels such as Burglars Can't Be Choosers, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, and The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons. Called “the Heifetz of the picklock” by the New York Times, Bernie has stolen not only antiques, stamp collections, and priceless works of art but also millions of readers' hearts.
Now, for all those craving more adventures of their favorite bookseller-by-day and burglar-by-night, The Burglar in Short Order for the first time ever collects all of Bernie's short-form appearances in one complete volume. From the story in which a prototype of Bernie first appeared (“A Bad Night For Burglars”) to his appearances in Playboy and (maybe? It's kinda complicated) Cosmopolitan…from an essay discussing Bernie's misadventures in Hollywood (how in the world did Whoopi Goldberg ever get cast?) to a piece commissioned by a European publisher for a tourist guide to New York…you'll find every published story, article, and standalone excerpt Bernie has ever appeared in—plus two new, unpublished pieces: an introduction discussing the character's colorful origins and an afterword in which the author, contemplating retirement, comes face to face with his own creation. In all of mystery fiction, there has never been a character like Bernie—and in this, his dozenth book, he demonstrates all the charm and wit and kleptophilic ingenuity that has made two generations of readers welcome their favorite burglar into their homes.
From Publishers Weekly:
"MWA Grandmaster Block collects 15 tightly crafted and amusing short stories and articles concerning burglar and bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr, hero of The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling and other novels... A foreword, 'A Burglar's Origins,' and an afterword, 'A Burglar's Future,' are original to this volume. The author's legion of fans won't want to miss this one."
"What a treat, therefore, to come upon this charming addendum, which collects all of Block's Bernie short stories as well as several short essays, one describing Bernie's origins (broke, Block contemplated becoming a thief himself before deciding to write about one instead)... All this backstory will be catnip to Bernie disciples, and the stories are a treat, too, especially 'The Burglar Who Dropped in on Elvis,' in which Bernie is charged with breaking into Graceland's impregnable second floor."