Print the Legend by Craig McDonald – review

As the series has progressed I find myself interested in the relationship between Hemingway and Lassiter and between Hemingway and the books.

In Toros & Torsos my first reaction was to notice how Hem dominated the text. Or at least seemed to dominate in comparison to Head Games. Head Games was very much Hector’s book yet he seemed to almost take a back seat to Hem in T&T. If Hem isn’t physically in Print the Legend then his presence hovers over the entirety of it.

But given what we know about the series what isn’t clear is whether we are seeing Craig McDonald’s mastery of his subject (Hemingway) or is a part of some grander design at work. I don’t know anything about the other books in the series so I can’t say what Hem’s role in those books will be, if any. But I find this relationship and Hem’s role in the series so far to be an interesting one. For a series that is ostensibly Hector Lassiter’s Ernest Hemingway sure does dominate it. More layers of intrigue are revealed when it is revealed what manuscript Hector is working on at the time of the events in Print the Legend.

In some respects I find these books increasingly harder to review. I could just focus on the text alone and each story proper but that wouldn’t do justice to the “long game”, the larger story arc at hand and how it all fits together. I feel fairly confident that its this long story arc that McDonald wants us to focus on, and I agree, which is why I keep trying to grapple with some of the questions brought up in my reading. Its also my way of apologizing for a muddled review

The story proper, the one contained in Print the Legend, is engaging and fast paced. It has intrigue and action. The characters are full and resonant. With each successive release Craig McDonald continues to get better and further cements his reputation as THE writer to watch. I don’t know where the series is heading but I sure am enjoying the journey and can’t wait to find out.

It was the shot heard ’round the world: On July 2, 1961, Ernest Hemingway died from a shotgun blast to the head.

It’s 1965: two men have come to Idaho to confront the widow Hemingway—men who have doubts about the true circumstances of Hemingway’s death. One is crime novelist Hector Lassiter, the oldest and best of Hem’s friends…the last man standing of the Lost Generation. Hector has heard intimations of some surviving Hemingway manuscripts: a “lost” chapter of A Moveable Feast and a full-length manuscript written by a deluded Hemingway that Hector fears might compromise or harm his own reputation. What Hector finds are pieces of his own, long-ago stolen writings, now in danger of being foisted upon an unsuspecting public as Ernest Hemingway’s work.

The other man is scholar Richard Paulson, a man with a dark agenda who sets out to prove that Mary Hemingway murdered Papa. Paulson and his young, pregnant wife Hannah, herself an aspiring writer, travel to Idaho to interview Mrs. Hemingway who believes Paulson has come to write her hagiography.

As Hector digs into the mystery of his and Hemingway’s lost writings, he uncovers an audacious, decades-long conspiracy tied to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.

Don’t forget to check out Keith Rawson’s video interview with Craig mcDonald over at BSC.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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About Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

One Reply to “Print the Legend by Craig McDonald – review”

  1. I feel for you. Corey did the reviews for Craig’s books or our blog, so I haven’t yet had to tackle analyzing the complexity and the interlacing construction of the books. I’ve been able to kick back and just enjoy.