Dancing Aztecs (1976) – M. Evans

There are three kinds of hangovers. There are hangovers that are green and wet and slimy, full of queasiness and trembling and the conviction that one has somehow been disemboweled in one’s sleep and a recently dead muskrat has been placed where one’s stomach used to be. Then there are hangovers that are gray and stony and cold, in which the granite of one’s skull has been cracked like the veil of the temple, and the rock of one’s brain has been reduced to rubble within, painful rubble. And finally there are hangovers that are red and jagged and jolting, lightning bolts shooting in one ear and out the other, more lightning in the elbows and knees, buzzers and electric chairs and whoopee cushions in the stomach, flash bulbs in the eyes and battery acid in the mouth. Those are the three kinds of hangovers, and Pedro had all three of them.


A small South American republic has decided to capitalize on its national symbol: a prized gold statue of a dancing Aztec priest. The president asks a sculptor to make sixteen copies of it for sale abroad. The sculptor replaces the original with one of his fakes, and ships the real one to New York City for an under-the-table sale to a museum. The statues travel to America spread out among five crates, labeled to ensure that delivery goes as planned. But it doesn’t work.

Asked to pick up the crate marked “E” at the airport, delivery man Jerry Manelli, confused by his client’s Spanish accent, takes crate “A” instead. The statue disappears into the city, leading him on a baffling chase, which—if he comes up with the wrong Aztec—could cost him his life.

– From the book description on Amazon.com




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