One True Sentence (Hector Lassiter Series #4)

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Paris, 1924. A city teeming with would-be poets, writers, and painters. Hector Lassiter, fledgling author and best friend of Ernest Hemingway, is crossing the Pont Neuf when he hears a body fall into the icy Seine — the first in a string of brutal murders of literary magazine editors that throw a shroud over the City of Light.

Frantic to stop the killings, Gertrude Stein gathers the most prominent crime and mystery writers in the city, including Hector and the dark, mysterious ...

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Overview

Paris, 1924. A city teeming with would-be poets, writers, and painters. Hector Lassiter, fledgling author and best friend of Ernest Hemingway, is crossing the Pont Neuf when he hears a body fall into the icy Seine — the first in a string of brutal murders of literary magazine editors that throw a shroud over the City of Light.

Frantic to stop the killings, Gertrude Stein gathers the most prominent crime and mystery writers in the city, including Hector and the dark, mysterious crime novelist Brinke Devlin. Soon, Hector and Brinke are tangled not only under the sheets, but in a web of murders, each more grisly than the next.

As he is drawn deeper into the hunt, Hector finds himself torn between three women with hidden agendas and dark imaginations. When Hector learns that the murders may be the work of a strange cult of writers who are targeting the literary set, Hemingway, Hector, and Brinke must scramble to find the killer before they become the next victims.

A Moveable Feast meets The Dante Club in this exquisite mystery that takes readers from the cafés of Montparnasse, through the historic graveyards of Paris, to the smoky backrooms of bookstores and salons. As dark as the shadowy banks of the Seine and as addictive as absinthe, this unforgettable book will grab you and never let go. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in Paris in 1924, McDonald's fourth mystery featuring crime novelist Hector Lassiter (after 2010's Print the Legend) shows that more is less. When a murderer begins targeting the editors of small literary magazines, using a variety of killing methods, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas tap Lassiter and his fellow mystery writer and budding love interest, Brinke Devlin, to solve the case and forestall further murders. Ernest Hemingway falls under suspicion, and other historical figures like occultist Aleister Crowley and poet William Carlos Williams enter the action, but none comes to convincing life. Even Lassiter gets lost in a meandering and convoluted plot that brings in a suspected satanist, a gratuitous massacre in a brothel, and a ménage à trois. The author telegraphs twists well in advance and resorts to a fortunate last-minute rescue for his hero. Too many murders and too little coherence don't make for a winning combination. Author tour. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Vivid, remarkable characters—the historical people as well-drawn as the fictional ones!—in a rich, evocative setting, and a gruesome serial killer with one of the most unusual motives ever. Absolutely gripping!"—Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander series

 “Craig McDonald proves he is a master of literary suspense in this riveting historical thriller set in the 1920s Paris of Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.  Complex protagonists, shocking murders, and a gripping tale will leave you wanting more.”—Stefanie Pintoff, Edgar-award winning author of A Curtain Falls

"Nobody does mad pulp history like Craig McDonald. Reading a Hector Lassiter novel is like having a great uncle pull you aside, pour you a tumbler of rye, and tell you a story about how the 20th century really went down." —Duane Swierczynski, author of Expiration Date

"A finely-crafted pulp historical mystery…While McDonald plucks your heartstrings, his wily hero Hector Lassiter will pound out a drum roll on your short ribs, and yes, you actually will be thankful for the experience." —Tom Piccirilli, author of Shadow Season

 “The real stuff… Sharp, smart, and fascinating. McDonald brings alive a unique time and place with not only his talent for history but style that would make his subjects proud.”—Ace Atkins, author of Devil’s Garden and Infamous

“An amazing montage of mystery, murder, meta-fiction, and literary-history, quite unlike anything I’ve read before. ”—Craig Holden, author of The Jazz Bird

"Edgar-nominated author McDonald takes such care to describe the American literary expatriate community in Paris in the years after World War I that readers will feel as if they are walking alongside Hemingway and his buddies as they look for a vicious killer. Certain to attract Hemingway afficionados and readers who enjoy hard-boiled historical crime fiction." —Library Journal

"Another juicy setting for McDonald to mix real people, well-known parts of the Hemingway legend, invented characters, and murders most foul... McDonald paints a vivid picture of Lost Gen life in Paris." —Booklist

Library Journal
When crime novelist Hector Lassiter (Head Games; Print the Legend; Toros & Torsos) sees a body fall into the Seine from the Pont Neuf in 1924 Paris, Gertrude Stein rallies the troops, and Lassiter and pal Ernest Hemingway pair up to find out who is killing the city's literary editors. Edgar-nominated author McDonald takes such care to describe the American literary expatriate community in Paris in the years after World War I that readers will feel as if they are walking alongside Hemingway and his buddies as they look for a vicious killer. VERDICT Certain to attract Hemingway afficionados and readers who enjoy hard-boiled historical crime fiction. [Six-city author tour.]
Kirkus Reviews

Hector Lassiter (Print the Legend, 2010, etc.) and his best friend Ernest Hemingway go sleuthing in Paris.

1924 means lights out for a certain kind of editor and publisher in the City of Lights. These are the people who keep afloat the little literary magazines in which obscure poets and storytellers have a shot at actually seeing their work in print. They're inoffensive types by and large, difficult to hate, and yet a small army of them have been meeting untimely deaths in unseemly ways, strangled, poisoned, drowned. But a posse is being formed on the left bank. Deciding that enough is enough, Gertrude Stein gathers a literary counterforce and issues marching orders: Catch the killer. The corps includes Ernest Hemingway—on the obscure side himself, since In Our Time and The Sun Also Rises have yet to appear—and crime-fiction writer Hector Lassiter. Hem and Hec join up reluctantly, reasoning that the Paris PD is full of professionals who trump them at killer-catching. But then Hec falls in love, perhaps twice, both times with mysterious beauties who may be more closely connected to the murders than he would have thought possible. Hec shifts into sleuth mode, his pal ostensibly in support, though that towering figure has seldom appeared quite so gratuitous.

A rail-thin mystery burdened by an overload of clinical sex.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312554385
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Series: Hector Lassiter Series , #4
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

CRAIG MCDONALD is an award-winning journalist, editor, and fiction writer. In 2008, his debut novel, Head Games, was nominated for an Edgar and was also a finalist for the Anthony, Gumshoe, and Crimespree awards for best first novel. Print the Legend, his most recent novel, was also published by Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2011

    Yeah Yeah

    From the moment I began reading this book, the only thing I thought of was "The Sun Also Rises". I had previously read that book a few months ago and enjoyed it very much, so of course i felt the same about this book. While the writing to me seemed simple it definitely did the job, drawing me in to read page after page. I am not usually big on crime novels and had i not won this i never would've thought to pick it up. Glad I got to read it though, because it really was a good read, kept me on edge throughout. My only scruple: would've liked an epilogue.

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  • Posted December 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    enjoyable historical amateur sleuth

    In 1924 in Paris, a serial killer targets the editors of small literary magazines. The culprit's M.O. is never the same with each murder more gruesome than any of the previous ones. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas order mystery writers and potential lovers Hector Lassiter and Brinke Devlin to solve the case before someone else dies.

    The pair finds clues that point towards Ernest Hemingway. However, the writing sleuths believe that is too simple of a solution for a clever predator so they assume it is a set-up. They make further inquiries that lead to occultist Crowley and a Satanist, but nothing quite comes together as time seems to have run out on Lassiter after a brothel bloodbath.

    The latest Lassiter 1920s mystery (see Print the Legend) contains more twists than Lombard Street in San Francisco, but all that spinning makes for a difficult to follow the somewhat non-cohesive story line. Still this is an enjoyable historical amateur sleuth as readers meet a who's who to include Hemingway as well as the two grand dame authoresses ordering Lassiter, Devlin and other crime novelists to find the killer before someone else fall off the Left Banke dead.

    Harriet Klausner

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