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Toros & Torsos by Craig McDonald
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This is the second Hector Lassiter book by Craig McDonald, but the books aren’t necessarily written as a series (I believe I could have read this one without having read “Head Games” (his Edgar Award nominated book for best first novel)).

Hector and his buddy Ernest Hemingway begin this tale in the artists’ haven of Key West, Florida in the 1930’s, but someone has a slightly different aesthetic vision. Instead of creating unique works of art on canvas, bodies are being left around the island, murdered and then “altered” to depict known works of Surrealism. As the murders move from Florida to Mexico to Spain and then back to Florida, their frequency and their proximity to Lassiter keep the narrative moving.

The inclusion of the art references made this a fairly interesting read, and it’s what primarily drew me to the book (I waited to read it until I finished Head Games, though, and again feel that was probably not necessary). Admittedly, this is not a genre I frequent, but at the risk of sounding judgmental, I felt this one was more “intellectual” than other similar reads. References to Man Ray, the surrealist movement, political conditions in Spain, etc. were all well written, and they added another level to the story.

Overall, I liked “Toros and Torsos” better than “Head Games”. The one drawback is that it’s a little more gruesome than Head Games. While the level of detail in the descriptions of the deaths provide the imagery necessary for the reader to envision the Surrealistic representation, some of the graphic nature seemed a little gratuitous and, had it been scaled back a little, I likely would have given it a slightly higher rating. ( )
1 vote pbadeer | Dec 18, 2010 |
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"The more horrifying the world becomes, the more art becomes abstract." — Paul Klee
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"This novel is for Debbie McDonald, with love."

Dedicated to the memory of Effie Pearl Lyon: grandmother, teacher, poet
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The second novel in the Hector Lassiter series and a prequel/sequel to HEAD GAMES, which was a finalist for the Edgar®, Anthony and Gumshoe awards. Hector engages a cabal of killer surrealists in a sweeping, historical noir based on recent scholarship.
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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 Lassiter--legendary crime novelist--engages in a decades-long duel against a cabal of killer artists.… (more)

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