Head Games by Craig McDonaldYou start a book like Head Games, set as it is in the fifties, and you wonder if it has to go so hard on period details like casual homophobia, and so often at that. The first novel written in Craig McDonalds Hector Lassiter series, although the seventh chronologically, starts well. People die indiscriminately, life is cheap, and women are accommodating without being doormats ... but then we get that little sting of poison.
The argument goes that homophobia was period accurate, but so was sexism and racism, and Lassiter is actually fairly enlightened on both of those counts. It wouldnt kill him, or McDonald, to not be like this - but thats what weve got ... and, fortunately, we can sort of get over it.
Because the thing is Head Games is ultimately a rollicking caper with a hardboiled protagonist in the form of hard drinking pulp novelist, screenwriter, and name dropper extraordinaire Hector Lassiter. Possibly McDonald wasnt planning a series at the time, or he might not have gone so hard on cramming Welles, Dietrich, and Hemingway in so soon, or set the novel so close to the end of Lassiters life, but thats just the way it is.
Head Games is the sort of novel that you pick up for its name and concept combo: Lassiter goes on the road with a journalist and an actress with the purported skull of Pancho Villa, trying to protect it from falling into the hands of various fraternity members, treasure hunters, and the Bush family (that Bush family). Apart from the glaring flaw in Lassiters character, hes a good lead and he carries the novel well. Some versions are paired with the short story in which he was introduced, which dovetails with the conclusion of the novel itself - the light contradictions that dont jive with Lassiter character make one question its canonicity, but its helpful to have to hand.
McDonald wrote himself into several corners with Head Games, so one may want to forgive him for any retcons that have to be made along the way. There is a degree of forgiveness that you have to engage in to be able to stomach Head Games in its entirety, but if you can get past that sticking point it goes down very easily indeed.
Skull and Bones
Here are the accepted facts about Pancho's purloined pate: On February 6, , someone raided Villa's tomb in Parral, Chihuahua, and scurried away with the famed general's three-years-dead head. Mexican authorities quickly arrested Emil Holmdahl, a gabacho mercenary who fought for various factions during the Mexican Revolution and had been seen around Villa's tomb. Holmdahl denied any responsibility, and the Mexican authorities released him for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, stories of Holmdahl boasting about his crime read Haldeen Braddy's "The Head of Pancho Villa" in the January, edition of Western Folklore for more details soon spread on both sides of la frontera. Flash forward to the mids. In , Arizona rancher Ben F. Williams shared this information with a friend who belonged to the Order of Skull and Bones, the Yale secret society that counts three generations of the Bush dynasty as members; the friend told Williams that Holmdahl sold them Villa's skull.
The oldest senior class society at the university, Skull and Bones has become a cultural institution known for its powerful alumni and various conspiracy theories. The society's alumni organization, the Russell Trust Association , owns the organization's real estate and oversees the membership. The society's assets are managed by its alumni organization, the Russell Trust Association , incorporated in and named after the Bones' co-founder. The first extended description of Skull and Bones, published in by Lyman Bagg in his book Four Years at Yale , noted that "the mystery now attending its existence forms the one great enigma which college gossip never tires of discussing". Skull and Bones selects new members among students every spring as part of Yale University's "Tap Day", and has done so since Since the society's inclusion of women in the early s, Skull and Bones selects fifteen men and women of the junior class to join the society.
None of the gates to the cemetery were damaged, which led authorities to believe that the perpetrators had climbed the small wall surrounding the graveyard. The man and the myth. Young Doroteo was left in charge of his family after his father passed. By he was captured and forcibly inducted into the Mexican federal army. A few months later, he killed an army officer, stole his horse and made his way north to Chihuahua. Madero, the national leader of the opposition to the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship which had gripped Mexico for over 30 years. That fact did not stop people from seeking the reward.
Podcast: Play in new window Download. In the early morning hours of February 6, a graveyard caretaker was making a daily patrol of the grounds of the municipal cemetery of the town of Parral in the southern part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. His name, almost lost to history in such a lesser-known place, was Juan Amparan. None of the three gates to the cemetery had been forcibly opened, which led authorities to believe that the small wall surrounding the graveyard had been scaled by the perpetrator or perpetrators. Amparan reported that when he first came upon the desecrated grave he also found beside the broken pieces of the coffin lid a tequila bottle full of a mysterious liquid, and several cotton wads, one of them soaked in blood.
Don't have an account yet? Get the most out of your experience with a personalized all-access pass to everything local on events, music, restaurants, news and more. They're suing because it's rumored that Yale's secret society has possession of Geronimo's skull, you see. According to legend, George W. Bush's grandpappy Prescott Bush pilfered it from its grave in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Among the collection are supposedly not only the skulls of Geronimo, but of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, and numerous others.