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Toros & Torsos

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  14 reviews
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- ...more
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
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
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
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.
Chris Eirschele
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
More about Craig McDonald...
Head Games El Gavilan Print the Legend One True Sentence Rogue Males: Conversations & Confrontations about the Writing Life

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