Getting Off: A Novel of Sex & Violence Book Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Author: Lawrence Block, Writing as Jill Emerson
People are always fascinated with how the minds of serial killers work, and what motivates them to commit their heinous crimes. The new Titan Books crime thriller ‘Getting Off: A Novel of Sex & Violence,’ the latest noir book featured in the Hard Case Crime series, strikingly recreates the style of crime novels of the 1940s and ’50s. Writer Lawrence Block adds an interesting, modern twist to his story by featuring a strong, determined femme fatale as the lead character who’s determined to punish and kill all men for their sexual urges, particularly towards her.
‘Getting Off’ follows a smart, self-motivated young woman, Kit Tolliver, who sets off on a mission to find every man she’s ever slept with. Still suffering from the effects of her father sexually molesting her as a teenager, and her mother neglecting to protect her, Kit finds it necessary to punish every man who has sex with her. She heads off on a cross-country road trip, changing her identity in every city she passes through, and relishes in targeting men of all ages, races and backgrounds.
While Kit enjoys sleeping with the men she targets, she enjoys killing them, in such diverse ways as stabbing and poisoning them, even more. After killing them, she steals their money and moves to the next town before she can get caught. While on her journey, Kit surprises herself by becoming physically and emotionally attracted to one of the women she briefly rents a room from in Kirkland, Washington, Rita Perrin. Kit must contend with her ever-present need to kill the men she’s ever been intimate with and her surprising, conflicting attraction to Rita.
Block makes a risky move in creating Kit’s story through the eyes of his female writing alter-ego, Jill Emerson. But channeling the emotions and motivations of one of the most self-possessed femme fatales in the crime noir genre through the eyes of a woman allowed Block to create a memorable and unique serial killer. While some fans of the crime genre will surely be appalled by the graphic details Block included during the numerous sex and murder scenes, as well as Kit and Rita’s growing attraction towards each other, readers will come to identify with Kit’s plight.
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