Published by Hard Case Crime (Titan Books).
Subtitled ‘A Novel of Sex & Violence’ and with one of the most striking jackets thus far from the superb Hard Case Crime stable (courtesy of Gregory Manchess), this new hardback release from crime legend Lawrence Block certainly doesn’t fail to deliver on any of its promises.
Sex and violence in spades here, with bodily fluids of all kinds literally pouring from every page. Not an easy read if you prefer your crime of the cosier type, but that’s not what you would pick this book up for.
Kit Tolliver is a damaged woman, abused in her past by the one man she knew had always loved her, and now hellbent on seeking out all of her former lovers in a personal quest to start again. To do this, she sees the only way to gain a release from her past is to firstly have a final sexual release with each man and then release them from the world by killing them – hence the ‘Getting Off’ in both respects of the title.
As a reader we are complicit in Kit’s crimes, and I even got the feeling that if I closed the book she would still be out there, screwing and slaying her way around the US. This is Thelma or Louise amped to the max, a femme fatale the like of which you will have never read, stealing identities and cash as she lives out her very own road movie as a seemingly unstoppable serial killer. Along the ride, Kit finds herself at the peril of others who threaten to harm and even kill her without realising what a threat she poses, and further explores her own sexuality with lesbian encounters as she strives to find what she needs, who she is.
It’s certainly a book that will divide readers, I would guess in a similar way to views of novels like Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, but whatever your view on the subject matter and the unflinching sex and violence, there is no denying the importance and the skill of Lawrence Block in the crime fiction world.
A brave and furious novel – Go get yours!