Saga Sunny Pascal

Bitter Drink | The Tequila Case | A Handful of Bullets

Movie Stars, alcohol, drugs, and mysterious homicides.

Bitter Drink. Mexico, 1964. Ava Gardner, Elisabeth Taylor and Richard Burton – among other Hollywood stars – travel to the beach of Puerto Vallarta to shoot the film of the year: The Night of the Iguana. The paparazzi were there to capture any news of the rollercoaster that is Elizabeth and Richard’s relationship. In order to protect them from the chaos the media is causing, they hire Sunny Pascal, a half-Mexican, half-American policeman.

Sunny is an ironic, womanizer, and alcoholic loser. The peaceful life on set comes to an abrupt halt when a corpse turns up and it is discovered that he has been executed with one of the weapons given to movie stars. This makes all the actors primary suspects in the murder case. The detective must not only discover what happened, but must also try to cover for the culprit in order to protect his reputation and avoid scandals in the press.

In a setting shaped by egos, alcohol, drugs, and corruption, Sunny will have to keep blackmailers, thieves, actors, directors, and the entire technical team at bay. Fights, confrontations, and problems with the Mexican mafia will also arise, as well as some jewelry theft. During the investigation, Sunny will realize that everyone has something to hide and will end up uncovering the truth behind the filming of The Night of the Iguana. It’s been a decoy all along… a cover to buy the land in Puerto Vallarta and turn it into a luxury resort.

The Tequila Case (El caso tequila) takes place in 1965 and Sunny Pascal has a new assignment. He has to travel to Acapulco, Mexico on a new mission to protect Johnny Weissmuller. The Hollywood star, who lives in the luxurious Flamingo Hotel, has asked Sunny for help after suffering from a mysterious blackmailing situation. When Sunny arrives in Acapulco, he is harassed by the local police, by the Italian mafia, and by a Cuban hit man working for the United States government.

While Sunny tries to protect Weissmuller and find out why so many people are after him, Sunny is almost killed by an unknown man. When the stranger dies, Sunny discovers that he was carrying a briefcase with half a million dollars, which leads him to investigate what Weissmuller has to do with all this. A thorough investigation will lead Sunny to uncover a secret plot between the Mafia, the U.S. government and the Mexican government.

In this crazy adventure, Sunny Pascal will meet Ann Margret, a woman who had taken refuge in Acapulco after her affair with Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra and who will help him investigate the Mafia.

In A Handful of Bullets (Por un puñado de balas), Sunny Pascal is hired by Churubusco Studios, located in Mexico, where he is asked by set designer José Ramón Izaguirre and renowned filmmaker Luis Buñuel to clear Izaguirre’s name, accused of murdering his wife Imelda Fregoso during the Spanish Civil War. Sunny Pascal must travel to Madrid to work on this case. In Spain, Sunny finds himself involved in numerous conflicts, surrounded by corrupt cops, movie sets, actors, assassins, cowboys and Sergio Leone himself.

A lineup of stars from the Spaghetti Westerns that were filmed in Spain cross Sunny’s path as he tries to unravel the mystery of Imelda Fregoso’s death.


REVELANT DATA: The Sunny Pascal Saga is a collection of satirically narrated thrillers that use real situations and characters to develop fictional stories of crime, corruption, and revenge. The first installment, Bitter Drink, won the Una Vuelta de Tuerca National Novel Award.

Haghenbeck, known as “the genius of the crime novels”, was a young author who revolutionized the Mexican literary scene. He has written several bestsellers and has been translated into some twenty languages.

During his literary career, Haghenbeck received various awards and distinctions such as the International Latino Book Award and the Gourmand Award in France, making the author the first Latin American writer to receive this distinction. He was also the winner of the Nocte Award for Best Foreign Book, the José Rubén Romero Fine Arts Novel Award, the LIJ Norma Award and the Bram Stoker Award for his work El diablo me obligó, which was adapted into the successful Netflix series called El Diablero.


What critics have said of the author and his work:

“The structure [of Bitter Drink] is original and attractive.” El País

“With clear references to the world of comics and mixing real facts and characters with other imaginary ones, Bitter Drink is a concoction that will leave readers with an excellent taste in their mouth.” El Mundo

“Mexican writer F.G. Haghenbeck combines an original combination in his novel Bitter Drink: classics such as the Bloody Mary and the Cuba Libre, plus a suspenseful plot set in the delirious filming of John Huston’s The Night of the Iguana.” Babelia

“A very entertaining novel, with an excellent mastery of rhythm and dialogue that once again evokes a genuine classic flavor […] The Tequila Case (El caso tequila) a highly recommended crime novel.” Esquire

“Sunny Pascal is one of those realistic characters that shows you that vigilante stories aren’t always perfect. Instead, he maintains this goofy, humorous personality that makes you empathize with the character.” Goodreads


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV Series, TV Miniseries, Film, TV Movie.

LANGUAGES AVAILABLE: Spanish, English, French, and Serbian.

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