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Head Games: A Hector Lassiter novel (Hector Lassiter Series Book 7) Kindle Edition
About the Author
- ASIN : B00SFQEQ92
- Publisher : Betimes Books; 3rd edition (24 February 2015)
- Language : English
- File size : 2066 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 303 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,159,078 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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In possession of this head is hard-drinking Hector Lassiter, a noir writer inhabiting a noir novel, who tries to keep his own head attached long enough to take Villa's skull from Mexico to California. Dragged into this is Bud Fiske, young aspiring poet and latest would-be interviewer of Lassiter. Throw in shooting, betrayal, car chases, more shooting, more betrayal, your compulsory femme fatale, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, George W (yes that one), the CIA, and more skulls than you can shake a stick at, light the whole mess on fire and you might get something close to the insanity that is this novel.
This is a novel of both literal and figurative 'head games'. The action comes think and fast, interspersed with characters real and imagined. If it all seems a little crazy, and it does, it should be noted that many of the plot points in the novel have a basis in fact.
Readers will have to decide for themselves what is going on towards the end of the book. For me, I think the author is indulging in some 'head games' of his own, but I'll have to buy the next one in the series to find out!
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.