I get the nicest emails from readers. Here’s what Nathaniel wrote:
It was the fall of 1999, and I was caring for my dying 100-year-old grandfather. I didn’t get out much because of that, but when I did I was sometimes dating a woman who also enjoyed mysteries. Blockaholic that I am, I’d just purchased and devoured Hit Man. Naturally, I lent my copy to my friend with the most enthusiastic recommendation.
“You’ll really enjoy this!”
“Just read it,” says I.
Next time I saw her – some weeks later – I asked what she thought of the book.
“I haven’t read it yet. I lent it to my daughter’s boyfriend. He’s in jail and needed something to read.”
And I asked the obvious: “What’s he in jail for?”
“Uh – you don’t know what the book’s about, right?”
“No—I said I didn’t read it.”
“Did the title give you any hint?”
Thus ended that relationship. And no, I never got my copy back. I just hope he’s still in the clink.
Amen to that. And I just hope he didn’t think the book was an instructional manual…