Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Off -- Lawrence Block writing as Jill Emerson

The other day when I wrote about Lawrence Block's Afterthoughts, I mentioned that I'd been reading his books since 1965. Although I was buying everything with his name on it, I didn't know at the time that he was writing other books under a lot of other names, including Jill Emerson. Now Jill has returned to the writing game with Getting Off, the first hardcover from Hard Case Crime. The subtitle is "A Novel of Sex and Violence." That's absolutely accurate, since there's a lot of both, and they're a far cry from the "mid-century erotica" that Block was writing years ago as Sheldon Lord, Andrew Shaw, and, I suppose, Jill Emerson.

Katherine "Kit" Tolliver is the focus of the book, and she's a serial killer who has sex with men and then does away with them. She's very good at this and has killed who knows how many men. A lot. It appears that her childhood relationship with her father led her to this and that she's killing him, in a sense, when she kills the others. Or maybe that's too facile. At any rate, she has an unusual childhood.

It occurs to Kit that there are five men who've escaped her, and she decides that it's time to get rid of them, too. To do that she has to hunt them down, and it's not easy, considering that it's been a while and that some of them might not even have given her their real names. No matter. She turns out to be a very good detective, and her final relationship with each of the men is not always what she, or the reader, might expect. Oh, the end is the same, but each event is revealing in a different way. And as she tracks the men down to dispatch them, Kit even finds something that might even be love.

As I mentioned above, this book is about exactly what the subtitle says, and the sex is plentiful and explicit. The main character is a serial killer who makes Lou Ford look like a pussycat. That being said, the book is both savage and funny, engrossing and scary. You may have read some chapters of this book, as I had, in anthologies. Now you get the whole story, and it's a heck of a ride. Check it out.


Gerard said...

What a cover!

Brent McKee said...

She could hardly be accused of carrying a concealed weapon.

cdnature said...


Great, accurate and quite interesting comments which I enjoyed reading. You added something to the book which I hadn't thought of too, reminding me of this great read.

I bought the book just because of its cover so was surprised by the content, all of the sex and violence. But why? No earthly idea because like you said it is stated quite clearly on the cover. Guess I thought just a bit of each instead of a LOT of BOTH.

Loved it!

Unknown said...

Cathy, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.