Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Short Story Wednesday -Keller's Last Refuge, Lawrence Block

I will come back and post links later today. I have competing projects today.

 "Keller's Last Refuge" appeared in Playboy and then in the 1999 Best American Mystery Stories. As of 2016, Keller had appeared in the stories listed below. He also appeared in half a dozen novels.  Considering how many of the stories appeared in Playboy, Keller isn't really a terribly violent hit man. At least in this story, he dispatched his victims in fairly civilized ways: mostly he strangles them. The conceit that makes this story interesting is that Keller believes he is dispatching his prey out of patriotism. Block's writing is terrific as usual. He supplies just the right amount of ambiance and detail to flesh out the story but never enough to weigh it down.  Block must have one of the longest lists of publications in the business. I have read three of his novels. My favorite being WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES.  Most of these stories are collected too, I believe.


  • "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) 
  • "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) .!
  • "Keller's Horoscope" (2001, Death by Horoscope)
  • "Keller and the Rabbits" (April 14, 2003, Audiobooks Today)
  • "Keller's Adjustment" (2005, Transgressions) 
  • "Quotidian Keller" (July/August, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector)
  • "Keller the Dogkiller" (May 2008, EQMM)
  • "Keller in Dallas" (2009, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector) 
  • "Keller's Fedora" (May 2016; Kindle)
  • "Keller in Des Moines" (May 2016, digital

Matt Paust 


Kevin Tipple 

George Kelley

Steve Lewis 

Jerry House 


Todd Mason said...

I should try the short stories, beyond HIT LIST (IIRC)...for whatever reason, the few Keller books have I've read have done less for me than Block's other series and stand-alones over the decades.

Good luck with project-juggling!

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, you can't go wrong with Lawrence Block, Patti - at least I don't think so. And I keep meaning to try the Keller stories. Thanks for the reminder.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Three? I've read dozens. And the short stories. And a lot of his non fiction work.


Kevin R. Tipple said...

Great stuff.

Must say it blew me away to meet him at Bouchercon Dallas and he KNEW who I was before I opened my mouth. Just stunned. Still am.

TracyK said...

I have read two of the books of Keller stories, Hit List and Hit Man, and I enjoyed them. Very well written. But in the second collection I began to be bothered by the premise. I think his huge collection of short stories, Enough Rope, also collects all or most of the Keller stories. I have read one or two of each of his series, and I would like to read more of the Matthew Scudder books.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

I'm a big fan of Matthew Scudder and Keller. Not so much his standalones or his Burglar series.

Mathew Paust said...

Haven't read Block in ages, but then I've been drifting away from fiction lately, but when I drift back, I shall return to Mr. Block as well. Last thing of his I read was The Crime of Our Lives. Wonderful vignette's @ his colleagues in telling lies for fun and profit.