Dowdy Lewis, Jr., thirty-nine years old and looking downhill at the business end of forty, deals in books about the Old West, alcohol, memories of Viet Nam and delusions of peace.  Now Dowdy is dealing in something else.  Call it murder.  Call it heroin.  Call it love.

Yvonna Lablaine walked into his life with .45 caliber lips and more charm than the law allows, a drop-dead gorgeous true-blue redhead with maddeningly elongated legs, the blackest sheep in a very rich Hollywood family.  The next time Dowdy saw her she was standing at his door, dying.

In between Dowdy had made love to her in Topanga Canyon, posted bond for her, and had taken on a bar full of low-life drug dealers to find out where she went.  Now he's putting together the pieces behind Yvonna's death.  The picture isn't pretty:  it's about mobsters, Hollywood moguls, and the price of flesh and blood.  Then again, Dowdy Lewis is not a pretty guy.  He's a man with a broken heart, looking for vengeance, who's about to have...

A Gypsy Good Time

    Into the soft tinkle of falling ice cubes, Yvonna says, "Don't get any ideas.  I know karate."
    I say, "That's good to know, but then I'm not looking for a bodyguard."
    "What are you looking for?"
    "I'm a kind and considerate guy looking for a moody bitch for a love-hate relationship.  I'm looking for a good woman who knows how to be bad.  Women should be obscene and not heard."
    "You can just check your flattery at the door, chief.  I am not flattery operated.  In this town men never say what they're really thinking unless they don't mean it."
    "Women have an annoying habit of saying 'no' to questions they have not been asked."
    "Oh, you'll ask.  I'm just trying to save time."
    "You know, you're not the first woman I've met who thinks her ass is made of gold and that every man in California is out to make a discovery.  What you get from a woman like that is all wrapper and no candy."
    "Okay, so I'm a shallow, snotty bitch.  And a frigid prick-teaser.  And you don't like me.  What a sad song.  You got something to say, cowboy, or do you just want to complain?"
    "What I'm saying is that I am easily bored by women and the silly games they play.  This ain't my first time at the rodeo.  I'm not as horny as I was when I was nineteen, and not as dumb.  I'm a little bit prematurely cantankerous and I will not tolerate endless pageants of coy bullshit from parasitic dingbats.  My motto is never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.  This is not a sign that I am getting old; it is a sign that I am acquiring judgment and taste.  So don't waste your Marie Antoinette impressions on me.  I don't like it."
    "So if you're a cowboy, where's your cowboy hat."
    "I don't have a cowboy hat.  I wear all of my cowboy hats on the inside.  It's going to be fun grinding the rough edges off of you, little buzzard."
    "Hey, cowboy, I can keep this up as long as you can.  When are you going to say that I'm too wise, too glib, and too afraid of feelings?"
    "Didn't I cover that one already?  I thought I covered that one."

"Hallelujah!  At last a new dimension to the crime novel.  As if it wasn't
enough to deliver a nifty plot with unique characters, Hasford's A Gypsy Good Time
has something to say--and nobody says it better."
--James B. Harris, producer of three Stanley Kubrick films,
The Killing, Paths of Glory, and Lolita

"This may be the best stuff I've ever read about Hollywood and the movies,
a world as savage and erotic as any jungle war...Gustav Hasford's
voice is unmistakable in American writing."
--Kent Anderson, author of Sympathy for the Devil

"A modern-day version of Henry Miller at his best, but it's not Paris this time, it's Hollywood."
--William Eastlake, author of Castle Keep

   "Hasford scores a bull's-eye.  One round right between the heart and the head..."
--Captain Dale A. Dye, USMC (Ret.), author of Outrage

Published by Washington Square Press in 1992, Gus Hasford's final novel is a depature, a hard-boiled dialogue-rich detective tale that, as Marc Leepson noted in his obituary of Gus, "the critical establishment virtually ignored."  The reviews it did receive were mostly sour.  Criticized for being too cliche-ridden, it is actually a quite humorous satire of life in Hollywood, toward which Gus had become quite jaded, in the wake of his legal troubles, his relationship with what his friend Steve Bernston calls "the crusty edge of Hollywood," and his struggles while working on Full Metal Jacket.  Gus had planned on writing a six part series using Dowdy Lewis, Jr, if just to have a steady income while he worked on books more important to him.  The second in the series was to be set in Greece, where Gus died.
Currently out of print, but very soon you'll be able to download the entire text right here.
For now, here's an excerpt.
Read it!

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