Thursday, December 29, 2016
recent read; HEAD GAMES
Head Games by Craig McDonald
Well, I saved the best for last. This was my favorite read of the year. Well, my favorite listen, anyway. Hector Lassiter is a pulp crime writer, a novelist and a screenwriter (who tends to get more anonymous "script doctor" duty than screen credit.) He lives the pulp life - too many cigarettes, too much booze, too many women and Mexican whores. And he gets embroiled in capers and crimes. This time, he's caught up in a shell game of skulls - one of which was on the shoulders of Pancho Villa. The skull is worth money, if delivery can be made running the gauntlet of FBI, CIA, Skull & Bones society frat boys and Mexican bandits. Beyond that, the skull might be the key to a lost treasure hoard of the Mexican Revolution, putting desperate, violent men on Lassiter's tail.
Lassiter is a fictional construct who McDonald weaves through real history and personalities. Old Mexican Revolutionaries, old mercenaries, Hollywood greats. Maybe the audio narration helped, but Lassiter has a very real, gruff voice. This novel just zips along. The veracity balances the outlandish every step of the way.
Noir. Road trip. Crime caper. Black comedy. Western.
It's all that and more. The whole definitely exceeds the sum of its parts.
I will be reading more entries from the Hector Lassiter series.