I’m a sucker for a good hero. I don’t mean the carbon copy type that can do no wrong. I like heroes with flaws, and those who’ve grown and learned from their mistakes. I especially like heroes, protagonists if you will, who do not fit the typical literary mold. Block has made a career of crafting such heroes. You’ve already met Tanner. There’s also Matthew Scudder, a private investigator and recovering alcoholic, Bernie Rhodenbar, a cat burglar and used bookstore owner (his sidekicks include a dirty cop as well as a lesbian dog groomer), and Keller (John Paul Keller), an assassin who also happens to be an avid stamp collector. These are not cookie cutter heroes. They are about as unlikely as an assassin who collects stamps. Still, somehow, Block makes it work. To be honest, I’m not crazy about the Keller stories. The Tanner novels are fun, the Rhodenbar ones are absolutely brilliant, and Matthew Scudder is one of my all-time favorite characters. His character arc, which now spans almost forty years and is perhaps partially autobiographical, is a true masterpiece. Block is a masterpiece as well. Grab a copy of Tanner’s Virgin, or any of his other books. You won’t be disappointed.