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Vinnie's Head Hardcover – March 6, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Johnnie LoDuco tries his best, but he isn't a very successful criminal. He's been accused of a robbery he didn't even commit, and has been forced to go on the lam. That's when his luck really turns bad. While fishing on Long Island Sound, he inadvertently catches the severed head of Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt, his best friend and partner in crime.
That discovery sets off a madcap series of adventures, which have Johnnie being chased by a motley crew of mobsters, bent cops and a serial killer who really loves his Mommy. The whole thing would be ridiculous if it weren't so well done and so damn hilarious.
"Vinnie's Head" is not for every taste, but it's definitely for people who like their crime funny, brutal and over-the-top. Lecard is a true find.
The head is the driving force behind everything else that happens in the story. Johnnie carries the head around, locks it in a freezer, even stuffs it in a carrying cooler. And death follows the head. Gangsters, a beautiful fem fatale named Jennifer Smeals, dirty cops, and a pretty young thing that Johnnie falls for named Patrice. On top of this, Johnnie has to try and avoid a bounty hunter named Stosh who's dedication to his profession astonishes both character and reader.
But why is everyone interested in the head? Especially Jennifer Smeals and a local thug named Malatesta? Close examination of it by Johnnie and Patrice reveal nothing except noxious odors. But Paraguay, smut books, computer programs and deadly folk all play a part in what lay ahead for Vinnie's head.
There's a lot of dry wit (perhaps too dry) in author Marc Lecard's debut comedy crime-noir novel but with an ending plot that is -- unfortunately -- over-the-top. Death and redemption go hand-in-hand as Johnnie discovers all of the cons within cons that are designed to divest him not only of money, but probably his life. The overly-complicated ending plot wrap-ups didn't fit well with the dumbed-down LoDuco (the story is told in first person via Johnnie) whom most readers will probably sympathize with and get angry at for not seeing what's right under his nose.
That said, the story is a breezy read (up until the end) and has some chuckle moments but nothing that'll cause serious belly laughs.
A fun read that most readers should be able to finish in one or two sittings.
If you think that suggests this book is rather on the twisted side, you're right.
I've never read much crime fiction, but I gave this one a try on the recommendation of my friend Fred, who happens to know the author. Fred had earlier gotten me and Heather hooked on the novels of Christopher Moore, and he told me he thought Lecard's style of writing, though in a different genre, would appeal to someone who likes Moore.
Vinnie's Head falls into the bumbling criminal sub-genre. The main (non-decapitated) character is Johnnie LoDuco, known to some people as Kenny Moleri and to others, as it turns out, as Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt. Johnnie, ex-con, bond-jumper, and general wrong-place-at-wrong-time person, goes fishing one day and reels in, to his dismay, his friend Vinnie's head. Now, anyone else might have thrown it back, or taken it to the police, or left it under a bush for someone else to discover, but not Johnnie. Vinnie was his friend, and Johnnie feels responsible for him, or at least for his head. And as for the police, no, he doesn't want to talk to them.
So the head comes home with Johnnie, and next thing you know, everyone -- Vinnie's girlfriend, organized crime, a bounty hunter, a video store clerk, and a serial killer with his own head collection -- has taken an interest in Johnnie and his prize catch. So what are they all after? Generally not what they say they are, of course.
Fred was right: the dark humor here reminded me a lot of Moore, and so did the motley characters and screwball plot. I liked this book a lot. This was Lecard's first novel and it was an impressive debut. Now I'm reading his second. It should be fun following his future career.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book chronicles the misadventures of the hapless and not-so-bright Johnny LoDuco. Johnny doesn't need to look for trouble, as it has a way of finding him. Read morePublished on January 28, 2010 by O Henry
Just like they say about acting: It is harder to do comedy then drama, goes true for writing a comic novel! Read morePublished on October 13, 2009 by Mark Goodwich
One of Elmore Leonard's greatest talents is showing fools go wrong. But most of his work is within the realm of the possible. Read morePublished on June 28, 2009 by John Bowes
Johnnie LoDuco did not show much promise for ever having a successful career. He had been writing cheap porn novels at $500 a pop, and working as a clerk in an adult book store. Read morePublished on July 27, 2008 by Fred Camfield
I'm a huge fan of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey and I have to say that Lecard's "Vinnie's Head" is just as good (and definitely better than Hiassen's last novel "Nature Girl"). Read morePublished on April 18, 2008 by Teresa Marin
not to get your hopes too high, but this is about the funniest book i have ever read. i can't wait until this man writes his next book. even the violence is funny. Read morePublished on September 14, 2007 by Kindle Customer
This is a story about a character called Johnnie LoDuco who is a jinx and gets into all sorts of trouble for things he didn't do and at every turn when you think what else can go... Read morePublished on June 10, 2007 by Windy Welly
Marc Lecard is a hoot. I don't know where he gets his ideas, but it has to be from a place where the buses don't run. Read morePublished on May 29, 2007 by Bookreporter