Created by Lawrence Block

''Ethics? What do I know about ethics?''

-Keller ponders a moral dilemma

A riddle wrapped up in an enigma, and packing a rep as one of the best hitmen around, Lawrence Block's JOHN KELLER is always a fun read. Keller's an affable loner, a nice, easy-going kinda guy, with steady hands, cool nerves and perfectly honed professional skills, going through a bit of a midlife, midcareer crisis, who likes travelling to new places, meeting and getting to know interesting new people, and then killing them. Poor guy. He yearns for a girlfriend, a therapist or even a dog --really, just some semblance of a normal life.

Not a private eye, not by a long shot, but there's something in the ironic tone and confessional content, not to mention Keller's more whimsical moments, that make these stories so much fun.

And make no mistake -- they are stories. Short stories, that go down in tasty little chunks. Hell, the "novels" might more accurately be categorized as collections, since most of the chapters can stand alone (and indeed many of them first saw print as short stories).

The first batch of Keller stories appeared mostly in Playboy, and proved popular enough to collect, and present as a rather episodic, but entertaining and engaging novel, Hit Man, in 1998. The success of that volume has led, in turn, to other adventures for the eternally confused hit man.

Although I do believe he's getting better. In later books, he turns to stamp collecting, which seems to given him some sort of purpose, and eventually he even quits the business, changes his name, marries a nice girl, fathers a child and moves to New Orleans, although not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily for good.

Somehow his old life continues to follow him, and sometimes, some people just need killing...


  • A nice little tip of the hat comes when Keller goes to Muscatine, Iowa to do a job on the same block where Max Allan Collins lives. Collins, of course, created the character of Quarry, the first series to be based on the exploits of a hired killer (if you don't count James Bond, I guess).


  • "Fast, somber, funny. Does Block succeed in making a deadly sociopath great fun to hang around with for a couple of hours? I'm afraid so."
  • "Block's most fatally appealing protagonist."

-- Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review


  • "Answers to Soldier" (June 1990, Playboy)
  • "Keller's Therapy" (May 1993, Playboy)
  • "Dogs Walked, Plants Watered" (May 1994, Playboy)
  • "Keller on Horseback" (1994, Murder Is My Business)
  • "Keller's Karma" (February 1995, Playboy)
  • "Keller in Shining Armor" (November 1995, Playboy)
  • "Keller on the Spot" (November 1997, Playboy) ...Kindle it!
  • "Keller's Choice (1998, Murder on the Run: The Adams Round Table)
  • "Keller's Last Refuge (March 1998, Playboy)
  • "Keller in Retirement" (1998)
  • "Keller's Art" (Spring 2000, Modern Painters)
  • "Keller's Designated Hitter" (2001, Murderer's Row) . Kindle it!
  • "Keller's Horoscope" (2001, Death by Horoscope)
  • "Keller and the Rabbits" (April 14, 2003, Audiobooks Today)
  • "Keller's Adjustment" (2005, Transgressions) ...Kindle it!
  • "Quotidian Keller" (July/August, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector)
  • "Keller the Dogkiller" (May 2008, EQMM) . Kindle it!
  • "Keller in Dallas" (2009, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector) ...Nook it!
  • "Keller's Fedora" (May 2016; Kindle). Kindle it!
  • "Keller in Des Moines" (May 2016, digital) (ss). Kindle it!

Originally appeared as opening sequence of the Keller novel Hit and Run



Just what it claims to be -- a sampler of the series, containing standalone stories from each of the "novels."


The official site, irreverent as all hell, and fun as all git out, full of vital info about the author, his books, his short stories, his newsletter, his upcoming projects, his seemingly endless book tour and everything else. And you can also buy autographed copies here (credit cards gleefully accepted). Although, you know what they say -- the rare Block is the unsigned copy.

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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