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"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone & they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."--John Waters

I'm the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, THE DEAD LETTERS, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Look for my next one THE LAST KIND WORDS due out May '12 from Bantam Books. Contact: PicSelf1@aol.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Getting Off: A Novel of Sex & Violence by Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block has written it all. Just check out his website for more than 50 years worth of material in a wide array of genres under a whole helluva lot of pseudonyms. Noted primarily as a crime writer, and voted a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, Block is one of the most beloved and highly awarded mystery authors in the world. Hard Case Crime even started its line off with the first-class Block reprint GRIFTER’S GAME, which remains a favorite title among HCC fans. With another bestseller on the shelves at the moment, the latest in his long-running Matt Scudder series A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, the author seems busier than ever. Also, for a guy who just celebrated his 73rd birthday, he’s utterly at ease with the inner works of social media. Just check out his Facebook, Twitter (@LawrenceBlock), newsletter, and brand new blog. It’s safe to say that Lawrence Block hasn’t slowed his step up in the least.

GETTING OFF is the first new novel Block has written for HCC and its first hardcover release. It revives his "Jill Emerson" pen name from his lesbian porn-writing past, and follows the bloody swath made by Kit Tolliver, the beautiful and psychotic anti-heroine of the novel. Kit has some impulse control issues thanks to the early trauma from advances made by her child molesting father. Now Kit has become a chameleon, whose identity is always changing but whose compulsion remains the same: she needs to have a lot of sex, and she needs to kill the men she sleeps with.

When the narrative begins Kit is already a wily, self-reliant killer who’s chalked up a lot of victims, but as they say, too much is never enough. Kit soon becomes obsessed with the five men she slept with who, for one reason or another, managed to get away alive. Now she’s on a mission to hunt each of the five down and scratch them off her list. Along the way she revisits an early boyfriend, finds herself the plaything of a murderous couple's sex game, and possibly even discovers true love.

This is racy, raucous, highly readable, and just plain fun naughty material that is as much a blazing satire of sexual dynamics as it is an over-the-top actioner of a serial killer stalking victims. Various chapters read like self-contained short stories (and according to the copyright page, some sections have appeared as complete tales in a couple of anthologies). You can practically hear Block chuckling as he tackles such scenarios and topics as married businessmen on the prowl in hotel lounges, slipping roofies to unsuspecting dates, sneaking out of bed before your one-night stand awakens, conjugal visits with the dame who set you up, the proper technique to snap somebody’s neck, and of course, how to clean blood off your icepick and whether to dispose of the body or just leave it where it lies.

So go and make room on your bookshelf now. Block is back, Jill Emerson is back, HCC is back, Scudder too is back, and the sexual revolution is back. And it’s a killer.


Phantom of Pulp said...

I just read this book, too, and loved it.

Speaking of love, Tom, I felt plenty for NIGHTJACK. A damn fine read.

Tom Piccirilli said...

Thanks, man, so glad you enjoyed NJ too!

Jeff Funk said...

Man this looks juicy. I pre-ordered the hardcover & Kindle editions. That sample chapter definitely left me wanting more. Nice review, Tom.

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