PACO IGNACIO TAIBO II – Leonardo’s Bicycle. Mysterious Press, hardcover, 1995; paperback, 1996. Translation of La Bicicleta de Leonardo, Mexico City, 1993.

   The literary equivalent of Pulp Fiction or the Mystery equivalent of Thomas Pynchon’s V. Take your pick.

   The non-linear plot bounces back, forth, up and down the various and variegated stories of:

   — Leonardo da Vinci’s possible invention of the Bicycle four hundred years before its manufacture.

   — A blocked writer in modern-day Mexico City who watches Women’s Basketball on Cable TV and makes up erotic fantasies about the players, then is galvanized into action (maybe) when one of them is kidnapped.

   — An International Criminal Mastermind in 1920s Spain, dogged by a dying journalist

   — A few anarchists

   — And an American Embassy bureaucrat at the fall of Saigon who manages to steal a car full of cocaine.

   All of which sounds quite Keeler-esque, but Taibo puts it across with sly humor and a gift for colorful description that makes Leonardo’s Bicycle much fun to read. I found myself flipping back and forth, keeping track of the wildly gyrating loose ends, and propelled by the narrative tension into reading this long after I should have been asleep.

   I shall definitely be seeking more from this guy.