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BOOK REVIEW:
TOROS AND TORSOS
BY CRAIG MCDONALD

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



As a second book in a series goes, Toros and Torsos far exceeds expectations. The book is a complex mixture of crime, art, and history all worth readers' time.

First there is the mystery. Crime novelist, Hector Lassiter, first seen in Head Games returns. Readers might well wonder what could possibly compete with tracking Pancho Villa's skull without being a letdown. But McDonald has spun another interesting tale. While in Key West, Lassiter becomes involved in a series of murders where the victims is staged to resemble famous works of surrealist art. Again, McDonald has given readers a great game of cat and mouse to follow as Lassiter matches wits with the killer.

I found the art angle of the book fascinating as well. What started with Hector, Ernest Hemingway and friends having drinks, and discussing a macabre writing game called The Exquisite Corpse, leads the group to pool their thoughts on the bizarre killings. As my familiarity with surreal art starts and ends with Salvador Dali, I found the descriptions of various works was fascinating.

The historical context of the novel is both it's strength and only weakness in my opinion. Sprinkled throughout the book are weather advisories issued during the great hurricane of 1935. That really helped set the stage for the book allowing readers to be right there in the Keys during the hurricane. The use of Ernest Hemingway as a friend of Hector's helped as well, giving credibility to the Spanish Civil War and Cuba references. But by the time McDonald parades out a number of Hollywood stars as characters to cover the Hollywood Noir angles of the book, the whole name dropping begins to lose it's effectiveness. As a reader, I began to grow weary of the continual parade of “big names” dropped into the story.

Even with the over abundance of real people who show up in Toros and Torsos, I would still highly recommend the book for readers of crime fiction, historical fiction and people who like art or film included with their mysteries.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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