Catch and Release by Lawrence Block
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Catch and Release is a collection of Lawrence Block's short stories. As usual, I'll attempt to comment on them as I go.
A Burglar's Eye View of Greed: Bernie Rhodenbarr gives his thoughts on greed. It's a nice little window into his personality and makes me want to resume reading the Burglar series.
A Chance to Get Even: This is the story of a poker player who doesn't know how to bet more than he can afford to lose and keeps trying to climb out of the hole he's dug for himself.
A Vision in White: A man develops a fixation on a young beautiful tennis player.
Catch and Release: A former serial killer explains his catch and release philosophy, thinking of himself like a fisherman. Best short story of the collection. Chilling and creepy.
Clean Slate: This was a story that eventually grew and became Getting Off: A Novel of Sex and Violence, Kit Tolliver's systematic killing of every man she's ever slept with to restore her spiritual virginity.
Dolly's Trash and Treasures: This is a sad and creepy story about county workers trying to help a hoarder whose family has run out on her.
How Far: This is a one act play about a woman who wants to get her ex to stop bothering her. It's all dialog and all Block so it's pretty slick.
Mick Ballou Looks at a Blank Screen: Mick and Matthew Scudder talk about what happens after death and the Sopranos finale.
One Last Night at Grogan's: Mick Ballou closes Grogan's and invites Matt and Elaine to spend one last evening with him there. Still as touching as the first time I read it.
Part of the Job: A man searches for another man who's jumped to the competition with an important set of plans. This one was all about the ending, which I will not spoil here. The story behind the story is that someone gave Block a magazine with the story published in it and Block never remembered selling it.
Scenarios: Scenarios is an interesting tale of what might happen when a man meets a woman in a bar.
See the Woman: An elderly former cop recounts the tale of an abusive drunk and the wife that kept making excuses for him.
Speaking of Greed: A group of poker players swap stories about greed in this novella.
Speaking of Lust: A group of poker players swap stories about lust in this novella.
Welcome to the Real World: A retiree's routine is disrupted when another man suggests he play golf instead of just practicing at the driving range. As with P.G. Wodehouse, stories about golf are more interesting to me than actually watching it on TV.
Who Knows Where It Goes: An unemployed man tries a different line of work and thinks about how things change. Without spoiling too much, this could have been a very early Keller story.
Without a Body: This is the story of a murder and the aftermath from the victim's point of view.
The afterword tells the stories behind the stories; what Block had in mind while he was writing it, who he wrote it for, etc.
I'd say Catch and Release, the titular tale, was the best of the bunch but I didn't think any of them were duds. Unlike some Hard Case reprints, this one had the Hard Case feel throughout. Another winning Hard Case from Lawrence Block! Four stars!
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