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Toros & Torsos

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
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.
Hardcover, 398 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Bleak House Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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V.R. Barkowski
Rather than read McDonald's Hector Lassiter books in the order they were written, I've chosen to read them, or attempt to read them in the order Lassiter "lived" them. Hard to do with Toros and Torsos as it spans a quarter of a century. Which brings me to my major criticism of the book. Each time I became vested in a period, the story threw me into another. Mcdonald is brilliant at drawing readers into the worlds he (re)creates, but Torsos simply tackles too many, including but not limited to su ...more
Aug 09, 2016 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved It

Another in Craig McDonald's Hector Lassiter series( nine books with the tenth and final one soon to come). They are crime thrillers, historical fiction, literary fiction, and art and literary history all rolled up into one fantastically entertaining book. The novels,taken together, represent a cross section of the history of the United States, film , art, and literature, high and low, of the 20th century. I can't really describe these books but if you trust anything I say, give them a ch
Book #10 - Craig McDonald - Toros and Torsos - I wasn't sure if I'd like this book and, frankly, I'm still deciding. It mixes noir with historical figures like Hemingway, with an examination of surreal art and it works at more than one level which is part of what makes it interesting and compelling. I'd probably have given this book a B - until I participated in a discussion (via phone) with this author at a monthly book discussion group and came away much more impressed with the author and the ...more
I found this disappointing after HEAD GAMES. Spanning 26 years and five specific years - 1935, 1937, 1947, 1957 and 1961, McDonald tried to do too much and in the end fell short. The humor of HEAD GAMES was missing and an opportunity to expand on Hector Lassiter's character really became more of a character study on Hemingway.

I don't have a problem with authors using real life figures in their fiction and McDonald used it to great advantage in HEAD GAMES. However, in TOROS AND TORSOS, except fo
Mcdonald’s second Lassiter second despite its clunky title is a smoother read than the first. The ambition is way up as this is more of a sweeping historical epic rather than a fast paced blast of a pulp adventure. This book can be annoying, thrilling, funny and exhausting. It combines historical epic, pulp, fan fiction, Zelig or Flashman styled picaresque, cultural and literal criticism, and mystery. It pulls Spanish Civil War, The Red Scare, Black Dahlia, Cuba during the revolution, surrealism ...more
This well-written book is just not my style. Crime writer Hector Lassiter seduces a young tourist on Key West, only to lose her to a serial killer during the hurricane of 1935. Several years later, he meets and falls for her sister in wartorn Madrid. Fate parts them, too, and years later, in Hollywood, he finds the same killer, inspired by Surrealistic art, is active. It mostly ends in Havana, when Hec and his buddy Hemingway kill, for the second time, the man Hem thinks is responsible. Lots of ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Ann rated it it was ok
This is nothing more than fan fiction. The author used real characters- Ernest Hemingway, Man Ray, John Houston etc in a mash-up with the information uncovered recent non-fiction book about the Black Dahlia murder. I find it hard to believe this author has won awards. He seems to leave out the hard part where the writer transcends the source material and creates an original work of art. It really angered me. I don't see how it can be legal and right to use the identities of real people in this w ...more
May 16, 2009 Troy rated it really liked it
Toros & Torsos is the second book of McDonald's starring Hector Lassiter (I'm now reading the first, Head Games) and it was an entertaining, well written noir-ish mystery. I particularly enjoyed the melding of literary history - Hemingway, Dos Passo, etc. - with art and fiction.

There were a few predictable plot points, but I think that may be because of the books dependence on the mystery genre and not that of the author. Either way, those same plot points weren't gratuitous or forced.
Jun 05, 2015 Montessahall rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read. Riveting from the first page to the last. This author has a unique writing style and character development that puts him in an elite class of writers. I usually don't enjoy stories that are too gritty and violent. ( this book is very gritty and violent) this author totally makes it work for a compelling story.
Chris Eirschele
Jan 29, 2014 Chris Eirschele rated it really liked it
Toros & Torsos will be a rough read, but I like the Hector Lassiter character, a crime novelist, enough to stick with it through the murders and the art. This is the second of his Lassiter/Hemingway stories. This one takes you from Key West (during a hurricane) to Spain, to Cuba, pre-Castro days. My favorites were Print the Legend and One True Sentence.
Apr 18, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it
I thought this book was a really interesting premise. I love historical figures and places and it had both. Plus it was art related and I thought that was great. It did seem to drag on a bit near the ending. It spanned a really long time period and that surprised me. The ending wasn't as great as I had hoped, but it was still pretty good.
Mar 24, 2011 Camille rated it it was amazing
It's a very complete novel: memories from Madrid during the Civil War,an hurricane in Key West,horrible murders staged as surrealist paintings,Rachel a disconcerting and beautiful women...
Of course Hemingway Lassiter's best friend is in the novel with Dos Passos,Rita Hayworth,Orson Welles...
Hector Lassiter was brave,charming as usual.
Nov 27, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it
Hector Lassiter is quite the hardboiled dude! Also manages to meet some very interesting twentieth century characters in his travels. Zelig or Gump-like except with a Colt Peacemaker. Just manages to stay inside the credibility line and brings up "hidden history" which is always fun!
Arbor Hill
Nov 17, 2008 Arbor Hill rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! I enjoyed it immensely. Mr. McDonald is a very talented writer and the book is well-researched and entertaining. I heartily recommend this novel.
Mar 06, 2011 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
second of the series that I've "read". Well narrated in the audio version. Fun insights into the writers and artists in early 20th. A bit gory and bloody.
Jul 26, 2013 Maighdlyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, couldn't put it down.
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Edgar/Anthony-nominee Craig McDonald is an award-winning novelist, editor and journalist. His internationally acclaimed Hector Lassiter series includes "One True Sentence," "Forever's Just Pretend," "Toros & Torsos," "The Great Pretender," "Roll the Credits," "The Running Kind," "Print the Legend," "Three Chords & the Truth," "Write From Wrong," and "Head Games," which was a finalist for t ...more
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