In 2006, the estimable S J Rozan invited me to contribute a story to Bronx Noir, an anthology she'd been commissioned to edit for Akashic Books. As she'd been obliging enough to write a story for my own Manhattan Noir, I felt honour-bound to return the favour.
To do so, I enlisted the homicidal services of a young woman who'd starred in "If You Can't Stand the Heat," my Hell's Kitchen story for Manhattan Noir. Although she seemed quite capable of standing the heat, I figured it was nevertheless time for her to get out of the Kitchen, so I sent her up to the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
My own familiarity with Riverdale was largely limited to those several months when I would ride the #1 train to the last stop at 242nd Street and Broadway, where I would meet a married lady from Westchester for an amorous dalliance in a motel with hourly rates. None of this is really anything y'all need to know, but the memory is dear to me, and I seem compelled to share it.
I took the subway again and had another look at Riverdale, and then sent my heroine there for her second adventure. I’d never expected to write about her again, but that’s been true of most of my series characters; I thought a single short story about Keller was all I’d ever write, and at latest count there have been five full-length books. Who knew?
"Rude Awakening" was a near-miss at Playboy, but that was as good as a mile, wasn't it? The story appeared in Bronx Noir in 2007, and unwittingly launched Kit Tolliver (she was yet to reveal her name) as a series character. Ultimately, of course, the stories about her coalesced into a book, and you can cut to the chase by buying the lot in Getting Off. Or you can move on to her third adventure, "You Can Call Me Lucky."
A Lawrence Block Amazon FREEBIE downloaded in January - it would have been impolite to have passed it up!
Following on from If You Can’t Stand The Heat, our heroine Kit wakes up in Riverdale with a fuzzy memory of the night before and her partner still breathing – obviously things not having gone entirely to plan.
Over a shower and coffee, memories of the night before resurface. Our player’s been played!
With a twinkle in her eye and a few dodgy crystals, Kit restores some balance to her skewed world.
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A few thoughts on If You Can’t Stand The Heat are here.
You Can Call Me Lucky is the third in a series of 12 Kit Tolliver short offerings – all available individually or as one tome in Getting Off.
Note to self, I'll have to try and get back to the Matthew Scudder books at some point, Or Bernie the Burglar, or Chip Harrison, or Keller the hitman, or Evan Tanner or something else from him!