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Bitter Drink (Trago Amargo)



Original Language: Spanish (Mexico) | 144 pp. | 2009

2 Seas Represents: Dutch Translation Rights.

Rights sold: USA (WER, Amazon Crossing), France (Denoel), Italy (Elliot), and Serbia (Laguna)

Full English Translation Available

Awarded the National ”Una Vuelta de Tuerca” Award to the best crime novel in Mexico (2006)


Bitter Drink is a story of intrigue, an accurate historical depiction of Hollywood, a very unique atmosphere and a funny compendium of the best and most famous cocktails of the world. It also invokes road movie, adventure and detective stories.

Jonathan Rabb on Bitter Drink: “Francisco Haghenbeck has done something so clever and so fresh with ‘Bitter Drink’. He’s managed to write a beautifully crafted noir novel about the making of a classic noir film, and made the likes of Richard Burton, John Huston, and Elizabeth Taylor into actual living, breathing noir characters. Add to that his pitch-perfect detective Sunny Pascal and you have all the elements of the best kind of fiction. This is a terrific book.”

Beatnik detective Sunny Pascal, half ‘gringo’, half Mexican, is an expert at two things: cocktails and finding trouble. And when the filming of John Huston’s The Night of the Iguana hits a few snags with its sexed-up, star- studded cast in a Puerto Vallarta paradise, producer Ray Stark brings Sunny in to chill out the set. Director John Huston’s got a wicked sense of humor. He gives each cast member of The Night of the Iguana a golden gun loaded with silver bullets, every bullet inscribed with a cast member’s name. But what starts off as a joke turns deadly serious when someone’s shot down by one of those golden guns. Has a Hollywood star killed someone?

Sunny Pascal is called in to sort out the problem and keep the cast out of trouble, but Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Sue Lyon, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr can’t shake their Hollywood haute in the Mexican paradise of Puerto Vallarta, and tension builds in the town. Now Sunny’s got to keep his Hollywood stars out of jail long enough for him to solve the case. But the trouble doesn’t stop with murder. The Mexican mafia and local newspapers wage a tension war against the hedonistic Americans, and if John Huston has anything to say about it, Sunny’s got to be the one to keep the show on the road.

Only Sunny will be doing it his way: with a martini in one hand and a Colt in the other. Bitter Drink, a tense tale of crime, passion, and cocktails.
Trago amargo, originally published by Joaquín Mortiz/Planeta Group (México) is one of those stories that ‘one writes at ease, like being at home’ says Francisco Gerardo Haghenbeck, its author (Mexico City, 1965). With this work the author was unanimously awarded the National ”Una Vuelta de Tuerca” Award to the best crime novel in Mexico (2006).

RocaEditorial (Spain) acquired World Spanish Rights (except Mexico) and released it in June 2009. Shortly afterwards Denoël (France) was the first international Publisher to acquire translation rights, followed by Laguna (Serbia), Amazon Crossing (World English) and Elliot Edizioni (Italy).