Toros and Torsos (Hector Lassiter Series #2)

Overview

Hector Lassiter is a legendary crime novelist who writes what he lives and lives what he writes. But Hector frequently goes a step beyond, drawing friends and lovers into the tawdry and turbulent territory of his fiction. Now, the large-living pulp author has at last met his match in the ultimate performance artist: a phantom killer committed to the art of murder… a blood-thirsty provocateur who leaves a string of macabre tableaus modeled on ...
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Overview

Hector Lassiter is a legendary crime novelist who writes what he lives and lives what he writes. But Hector frequently goes a step beyond, drawing friends and lovers into the tawdry and turbulent territory of his fiction. Now, the large-living pulp author has at last met his match in the ultimate performance artist: a phantom killer committed to the art of murder… a blood-thirsty provocateur who leaves a string of macabre tableaus modeled on famous works of surrealist painting and photography…

Against the vivid backdrops of a killer hurricane that nearly destroyed the Florida Keys in 1935, the Spanish Civil War, post-war Hollywood and the first days of the Castro regime in Cuba, Hector engages in a decades-long duel against a cabal of killer artists…

As in its Edgar®-nominated predecessor Head Games, history and myth merge, drawing on recent scholarship pointing to the existence of a dark underground of artists, photographers and art collectors that flourished in Europe and United States through most of the Twentieth Century.

In a blood-limned haze of love, deception, murderous metaphor and devastating betrayal, nothing is what it seems and obsession and creativity collide in a wicked and unexpected climax that will shake the art world to its foundations…

"A bold, ambitious, genre-bending novel from the talented Craig McDonald."
— GEORGE PELECANOS, THE TURNAROUND

"In Toros & Torsos Craig McDonald takes pop culture, real people and invented action to create a powerful novel of suspense. It gives one the slippery sensation of time-travelling with characters you'd always wished you could meet and suddenly you can. McDonald is knowing and artful, and the suspense pushes at a lovely pace until it starts to stomp like Hemingway on an empty bota."
— DANIEL WOODRELL, WINTER'S BONE

"In his lush, sprawling second novel, Toros & Torsos, Craig McDonald draws together both the timeliest markers of mid-century America—modernism, surrealism, film noir, pulp fiction, communism—and the eternal touchstones of classic crime literature—desire, chaos, obsession and loss. It is a bold, bloody landscape, but McDonald never lets its scale become so big that we lose sight of the lively characters at its dark center. Wily and wistful Hector Lassiter, a complicated, rueful and haunted Ernest Hemingway and dozens more draw us close to their chests, anchor us, win our favor and, in the end, break our hearts."
— MEGAN ABBOTT, Edgar® Award-winning author of QUEENPIN
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Spanning the years from 1935 to 1959, Edgar-finalist McDonald's second novel to feature crime novelist Hector Lassiter (after 2007's Head Games) deftly mixes myth, history and a serial killer who arranges dead bodies to resemble surrealistic art. Lassiter, whose work embodies the "write what you live and live what you write" ethos, loves hard, drinks hard and keeps an eye on avenging the loss of the beautiful blonde he meets in a Key West bar on page one. As a popular author, Lassiter interacts with such notables as Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, whom the author skillfully animates. Other celebrities of the day make cameo appearances. Solidly grounded in such actual events as the Key West hurricane of 1935, the Spanish Civil War and Cuba's last days before Castro, McDonald's imaginative tale takes an enjoyably different approach to art and murder. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Crime writer and ladies' man Hector Lassiter (Head Games) makes a return appearance in McDonald's outstanding second series effort. Spanning over a quarter-century and moving from Miami to Hollywood with stops in Spain and Cuba for a civil war and a revolution, respectively, this novel displays McDonald's storytelling and writing skills. The novel begins during the great Florida hurricane of 1935, when Hec comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress. Quickly falling for her, he is devastated when she turns up as the latest victim of an apparent serial killer. But this is not the end of the story: McDonald is only getting started with a tale involving a serial killer, a dysfunctional family, the world of abstract art, and a supporting cast that includes Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. McDonald wows with his writing, which seems effortless despite using many voices, and his book will keep readers rapt. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
—Craig Shufelt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606480014
  • Publisher: Big Earth Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Series: Hector Lassiter Series , #2
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 1,124,904
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Edgar®—nominee Craig McDonald is an award-winning journalist, editor and fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in literary magazines, anthologies and several online crime fiction sites.

His debut novel, Head Games, was published by Bleak House Books in September 2007. Head Games was selected as a 2008 Edgar®—nominee for Best First Novel by an American Author. Head Games was also a finalist for the Anthony, Gumshoe and Crimespree Magazine awards for best first novel.

His nonfiction books include Art in the Blood, a collection of interviews with 20 major crime authors which appeared in 2006, and Rogue Males: Conversations and Confrontations About the Writing Life, a second collection of interviews published by Bleak House Books in 2009.

McDonald was also a contributor to the NYT's nonfiction bestseller, Secrets of the Code. He recently won national awards for his profiles of crime novelists James Crumley, Daniel Woodrell, James Sallis and Elmore Leonard.
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