- Series: Hector Lassiter
- Paperback: 302 pages
- Publisher: Betimes Books; 3 edition (February 18, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0992967457
- ISBN-13: 978-0992967451
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,981,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Head Games: A Hector Lassiter novel (Volume 7) Paperback – February 18, 2015
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About the Author
Craig McDonald is an award-winning author and journalist. The Hector Lassiter series has been published to international acclaim in numerous languages. McDonald’s debut novel was nominated for Edgar, Anthony and Gumshoe awards in the U.S. and the 2011 Sélection du prix polar Saint-Maur en Poche in France. The Lassiter series has been enthusiastically endorsed by a who’s who of crime fiction authors including: Michael Connelly, Laura Lippmann, Daniel Woodrell, James Crumley, James Sallis, Diana Gabaldon, and Ken Bruen, among many others.
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Top customer reviews
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I won't go into the plot of this humorous, action-packed, thriller cum-road book, as others have already written about it. The search for Mexican Bandit/Revolutionary Pancho Villa's severed head had been written about in another thriller, VILLA HEAD: A Chenney Hazzard Mystery, by author R. D. Brown, who dropped off the radarscreen in the 80s after completing this, his second novel (the first was entitled HAZZARD). McDonald's book, though, is faster paced and more interesting, especially since the reader learns a lot of that period in history that the author definitely researched in depth. In no way is it stuffy, though, unlike the history lessons we had to sit through back in high school. (Remember those "old Days" when history was actually taught in school?) Hector Lassiter, given the nickname "Lasso" by on-again/ off-again pal and drinking buddy Ernest Hemingway, (who pops up as a central character..alive and dead...in the next two novels, TOROS & TORSOS and PRINT THE LEGEND, along with movie stars: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, and Marlene 'The Kraut' Dietrich). Hec, is a rough and tumble author, and WW1 veteran, who is a lady's/man's man the reader will definitely take a liking to.
We first meet hard drinking Hector Lassiter in a Ciudad Juarez cantina, in 1957, sitting at a table trying to figure out how to get Pancho Villa's head out of Mexico and split the money some shady someones are willing to pay big bucks and also kill for. Hector describes himself and two compatriots on page 14, "But now the bandit's skull sat under our table between the feet of Eskin 'Bud' Fiske, aspiring, myopic poet and my latest would-be interviewer; Bill Wade, drunkard, soldier-of-fortune and con man; and me, Hector Lassiter, pulp-writer-turned-crime-writer, turned-lately-screenwriter." Shortly after the introduction, the bullets fly. And this is just the beginning!
It's an entertaining and exciting adventure. I recommend it highly (5 Stars)
The tale opens in 1957. Lassiter has dragged a young writer, sent to interview him, to a cantina south of the border where an old acquaintance needs his help in dealing with the MacGuffin of the story: Pancho Villa's skull. Their tete-a-tete about Villa's tete is interrupted by a shoot-out with the federales. And then ... things get weird.
Take a trunkful of skulls, the federales, a secret society, the CIA, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Ernest Hemingway, the progenitor of a presidential dynasty, and more historical figures, mix liberally with guns, cigarettes, booze, car chases, and an escalating body count and you are just beginning to get an idea of what is in store for you (and Lassiter) in Head Games.
McDonald, who cites Lester Dent among his influences, manages to provide an action-packed tale full of twists and turns that never lets up while still delivering multiple conspiracies, a history lesson or two, and a look at the onion layers of the writer's mind and tortured soul that hides beneath Lassiter's hard-boiled exterior. He does all of this with a dark humor-tinged full bore voice and style (Lassiter's) that is pure new pulp: a truly modern novel that will remind everyone of what attracted them to the pulps in the first place.
The character of Lassiter shares traits with Hemingway but seems to be more directly influenced by a couple of other writers that may be familiar to pulp readers, Brett Halliday/Davis Dresser (creator of Mike Shayne) and Jonathan Latimer (creator of Bill Crane). It is the latter influence that adds a slight touch of screwball comedy to this volatile cocktail of tale. It is the former who, like Lassiter, lied about his age to ride with Black Jack Pershing.
Head Games is the first, but chronologically the second, in a planned series of seven Hector Lassiter novels. Three others, Toros and Torsos, Print the Legend, and One True Sentence are in print with Forever is Just Pretend coming next.
I also read his TOROS & TORSOS later book of a earlier version of Hector Lassiter with other horrible acts of man on man, or should I say woman on man.
The bottom line is that the research that had to be done to write this book is worth reading just to get an idea of what was happening at this time in history unknown to most of us.
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