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.
Print the Legend is a literary thriller about Hemingway's death and the patina that perceived suicide lends the author's legend...an exploration of the sinister shadow play and co-dependence that binds authors and their academics...a novel that could forever change how readers regard the death of Ernest Hemingway. When legend becomes fact, print the legend.
Praise for Print the Legend:
"Ingeniously plotted and executed, Print the Legend is an epic masterpiece from Craig McDonald. Beginning to end, I was riveted by this story of character, history and intrigue."—Michael Connelly
"The competition for the future of crime fiction is fierce, as it should be, but don't take your eyes off Craig McDonald. He's wily, talented and—rarest of the rare—a true original. He writes melancholy poetry that actually has melancholy poets wandering around, but don't turn your backs on them, either. I am always eager to see what he's going to do next."—Laura Lippman
"What critics might call eclectic, and Eastern folks quirky, we Southerners call cussedness -- and it's the cornerstone of the American genius. As in: "There's a right way, a wrong way, and my way." You want to see how that looks on the page, pick up any of Craig McDonald's novels. He's built him a nice little shack out there way off all the reg'lar roads, and he's brewing some fine, heady stuff. Leave your money under the rock and come back in an hour."—James Sallis
"Print the Legend is a landmark book. Lassiter for me is the Flashman/Zelig of the new era, but with a ferocious literary knowledge that is worn so lightly. A book beyond genre, stunning."—Ken Bruen
"With each of his Hector Lassiter novels, Craig McDonald has stretched his canvas wider and unfurled tales of increasingly greater resonance. With Print the Legend, his triumphant third novel in the series, McDonald cunningly blends high, low and pulp American culture at the mid-century. With a James Ellroy-like scope and vision of national history, McDonald takes on governmental conspiracy, Hemingway hagiography, the under-history of the FBI, the Death of the Author (literal and figurative) and the tantalizing, destructive mythologization of the Writer's Life. While the scale is immense, McDonald's hand is deft, and we never forget that, at its center, this is a human story, complex and bruising and deeply felt. As big as the scope, we are never far from the novel's true, pulsing center: the sumptuously etched characters of the widow Mary Hemingway, aspiring writer Hannah Paulson and our beloved Hector himself."—Megan Abbott