Larry Block will teach you how to write. He can even make a hit man sympathetic.
I don’t just mean that Block provides a model of good writing—though he does do that—but also that he has elsewhere written explicit advice about how to write and teaches writing. He is an exponent of straightforward, transparent style, where you don’t even notice the writing but read right through it to the story.
As you may or may not know, Block has written several different series of detective novels. Hit and Run is theoretically the last of his Keller stories, about the sympathetic hit man referred to in the first paragraph above. I say “theoretically” because it was actually followed by a novella in which Keller comes briefly out of retirement.
Anyway, each series features a different protagonist and a different sensibility. All have humor and just the right amount of seriousness. I’ve written about three of Block’s novels before:
- The Burglar in Short Order (from, of course, the Burglar series).
- A Time to Scatter Stones (from the Matt Scudder series).
- A Stab in the Dark (also Scudder).
There’s also the Evan Tanner series and dozens of other novels under his own name and a variety of pseudonyms.
Anyway, what about Hit and Run, you ask? It’s good summer reading, with interesting characters and more interesting settings. The plot has suitably many twists—enough to keep things lively but not so many as to confuse the reader. The distinction between good guys and bad guys is kept murky. So is the future.
Just like real life.