Meet Keller. He’s a hitman who has built a new identity for himself. So why does he accept one last job? Because it promises a chance to play private eye for a bit. Keller is tasked with taking out the lover of a cheating wife, but it’s up to him to find out just who is schtupping the wife. Keller’s back…but does he still have what it takes to get the job done?
Lawrence Block resurrects Keller after three years away, adding a wrinkle to the man’s life by making his new case a mystery. It allows Block to dive headfirst into all the noir trappings he so enjoys, from the classic fedora to an old-school investigation straight out of the ’30s.
One of Block’s greatest strengths is his ability to imbue those little twists and turns that keep the story interesting with a real-world feeling. The bad luck isn’t contrived, it’s convincing, and you never feel like he’s rigging the game in favor of his characters. That’s rarer than you’d expect, and it adds tension and style to Keller’s mission. (Though, admittedly, the ending feels a bit tidy.)
Keller’s Fedora is all too short but fun while it lasts.