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Vinnie's Head

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Overview

Small-time Long Island criminal, Johnnie LoDuco, after giving up a promising career as a smut peddler, gets involved with some friends who rob a convenience store, get caught because they are too stoned to make a getaway, and then pin all the blame on him.  And when his childhood buddy Vinnie bails him out of jail, he agrees to partake in a scam Vinnie has put together that will make them all rich. The only problem is: while out fishing one day Johnnie reels in the biggest catch of his life... Vinnie's head ...

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Vinnie's Head

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Overview

Small-time Long Island criminal, Johnnie LoDuco, after giving up a promising career as a smut peddler, gets involved with some friends who rob a convenience store, get caught because they are too stoned to make a getaway, and then pin all the blame on him.  And when his childhood buddy Vinnie bails him out of jail, he agrees to partake in a scam Vinnie has put together that will make them all rich. The only problem is: while out fishing one day Johnnie reels in the biggest catch of his life... Vinnie's head on the end of the fishing line. Now mafia types, bounty hunters, and Vinnie's girlfriend are after him, and Johnnie LoDuco doesn't have a clue as to why. Plus, they all seem to want Vinnie's head, but Johnnie seems to have misplaced it in an ice cooler—and if he wants to live he needs to get it back.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lecard, in his endlessly entertaining debut, shows great skill in pacing and characterization. Smalltime Long Island crook Johnnie LoDuco is on the lam after being unjustly fingered as the mastermind of a convenience store heist. While passing the time fishing, he pulls from the water the severed head of his best friend, Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt, a computer-savvy con artist who had recently promised to bring LoDuco into his business. This grisly discovery leads to an engaging comedy of errors, as LoDuco struggles to stay one step ahead of crooked cops, an amiable serial killer, mobsters and mysterious figures who may be pulling the strings of an international financial conspiracy. The violence, though plentiful, is cartoonish, and Lecard's appealing antihero has a distinctive voice reminiscent of Kinky Friedman's detective alter ego. Sure to appeal to Elmore Leonard fans, this first novel augurs a long and successful career for its author. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Small-time Long Island hood Johnnie LoDuco has scarcely cleared the prison gates when he hauls out of the bay the head of his high school buddy at the end of his fishing pole. Johnnie and the late Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt had been hatching a credit-card scam when Johnnie was sent to county jail on another legal matter. Now Vinnie's dead, and Johnnie is left holding the bag, with Vinnie's head inside. To make matters worse, ugly Mafia types like Worm Lips are now dogging him, along with a pack of bounty hunters and Vinnie's girlfriend. They all seem to want Vinnie's head and are perfectly willing to kill Johnnie to get it. What's a guy to do? Johnnie hooks up with Patrice, a mini-mart clerk with a heart of gold, and together they set out to ditch their pursuers, find Vinnie's money, and head for Paraguay. This wacky debut novel is reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen's work but is much darker and grislier. Hiaasen's fans may be put off by the profusion of body parts and absence of journalistic finesse, but Lecard has great comic timing, truly twisted characters, and a plot just bizarre enough to keep the pages turning. Recommended. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 11/1/06.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp. Lib., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Despite constant attempts by other gun-toting worthies to upstage it, Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt's head is indeed the centerpiece of this grisly criminal farce. Chronic Long Island loser Johnnie LoDuco, two weeks out of stir, looks like he's set to go back in when his car's battery dies and he's caught boosting a replacement vehicle. Before his court date rolls around, Johnnie runs into Bug Rankin, the public defender who once tried unsuccessfully to get him acquitted on obscenity charges, and two business associates who've just robbed a deli. When the cops pounce, they grab Johnnie along with the perps, who naturally finger him as the ringleader. Facing serious time, Johnnie's delighted but suspicious when he's bailed out, apparently by his old school buddy Vinnie, whose current partnership with disgraced Dr. Jennifer Smeals involves fleecing customers of a few measly cents on every transaction and setting up a corporation in Paraguay where Johnnie can "administrate" the proceeds. In a rare moment of insight, Johnnie reflects that "we made a great team, except for me." Vinnie's plan runs into a snag, literally, when Johnnie, idly fishing off the end of a pier, hooks his buddy's severed head. And that's all in the first 60 pages. Johnnie will soon be pursued by mobsters demanding their money (what money?), king-sized trigger-men, cops on the take and the Headhunter, a recovering serial killer who lives with his mom. Rookie novelist Lecard keeps the twists and turns coming, but since every lowlife who swims into view seems equally greedy, deceptive and demented, you may not care when Johnnie caroms from one to the next. The Rube Goldberg plot is rickety but relentless, and although most ofthe cast is excruciatingly familiar, it's hard to resist dim, sweet Johnnie, especially when he seems about to find true love.
From the Publisher
"For those of us who like our crime writing with a dose of dark humor, Vinnie's Head is the ticket. Great characters, pace, style, and story —Marc Lecard has chops!" Christopher Moore, New York Times Bestselling Author of A Dirty Job

"Alfredo Garcia has nothing on Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt. But the head we need concern ourselves with sits atop Marc Lecard's neck—it teems with gruesome and unsettling things which he is able, like a literary Chas Addams, to spill constructively onto the page. 'Vinnie's Head' is the most entertaining crime novel I've read in a long time." --Scott Phillips, bestselling author of THE ICE HARVEST

"I loved this book and if you wanted a blend of 'BRING ME THE HEAD OF HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA'... and THE SOPRANOS... but with dazzling writing and mesmerizing characters... this book is it and so much much more, a dark diamond of that rarity... sheer readability... you don't realize how well crafted the writing is till you've read the novel in one straight sitting... debuts don't come any better than this." --Ken Bruen, shamus award-winning author of THE GUARDS

"What a setup—this book had me *hooked* on page one! And the twists just kept coming...and growing more twisted every time. VINNIE'S HEAD totally screwed with mine! It's The Sopranos on acid, Elmore Leonard on crack, Pulp Fiction on poppers, Carl Hiaasen on magic mushrooms chased down with a fifth of tequila. After reading it, I had to check into rehab!" --Steve Hockensmith, author of HOLMES ON THE RANGE

“Marc Lecard's savagely funny, fast-paced debut is — forgive me —

head and shoulders over the competition. You'll love Johnnie LoDucco,

the ultimate fall guy who tries to help an old friend, only to find

himself way over his you-know-what." —Duane Swierczynski, author of THE BLONDE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312378677
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

MARC LECARD was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He now lives in Oakland, California with his wife, 3,000 books, and a growing collection of obsolete computers. Vinnie’s Head is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    Fast-paced Dark Comedy

    Poor Johnny LoDuco. He's not a bad guy, a bit of a petty criminal and a bit too naive for his own good, but he sure stumbles into a mess of trouble in Marc Lecard's debut novel, 'Vinnie's Head.' I'm not much of a mystery buff--can you believe I went to the library to take out 'Girl With a Pearl Earring?--but this title and zany book cover caught my eye and it had so many laughs, twists and turns, that I just couldn't put it down. Lecard is wonderful at giving a voice to Long Island low-lifes and even makes a serial killer who collects heads for trophies a sympathetic character. If you enjoy fast-paced reading with plenty of laughs and mystery, this is a great book to pick up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A zany crime caper

    He just got out of jail when Long Island based criminal Johnnie LoDuco finds a need to hide as he is sought by law enforcement as a party of interest in a convenience store robbery that he had no involvement in. While hiding Johnnie goes fishing only to reel in the head of his best friend, Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt.--------------- He is stunned to pull in a severed head especially that of Vinnie, as he was going to see his buddy soon re a credit card scam that they discussed before his incarceration. Even more shocking, everyone seems to want Vinnie¿s head and no one minds if they take Johnnie¿s too. Cops, bounty hunters, mobsters and his late friend¿s girlfriend come for the head of Vinnie McCloskey-Schmidt as Johnny struggles with what is happening. If he stays on the lam he will have no idea what is going on if he tries to learn what is going on he will become a sitting duck.---------------- This is a zany crime caper starring an antihero and a horde of purposely created caricatures who¿s seemingly only reason to live is to come after Johnny. The story line is fast-paced with one misadventure leading to another as various groups and individuals ranging the criminal gamut from crooked cops to a local serial killer to a sinister international cartel compete for VINNIE¿S HEAD.------------- Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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