A Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille
WOW! I can hardly believe it, I’ve been reading Nelson DeMille’s books for almost 30 years. In all that time there’s only been a few that flopped for me, I really liked all the rest. (Hey, I figure everyone is entitled to an oopsie every once in a while.) But A Cuban Affair is classic, smart-mouthed, DeMille at his finest.
Mac, a Highly decorated veteran retires to sunny Key West, Florida to operate his charter fishing boat, ‘The Maine.’ Mac wants as far away from the war as he can get. Problem is the scars people can’t see haunt him more than the ones they can. Relaxing at the infamous Green Parrot Bar, he’s approached by an attorney named Carlos who wants to charter The Maine for a trip to Cuba. With thoughts of his boat loan dancing in his head, he reluctantly agrees to meet the client, Eduardo who works with anti-Castro groups and a gorgeous, sassy Cuban-American lady named Sara, who he was instantly smitten with. Sara wants to retrieve a trunk hidden in a cave by her grandfather during the 1959 revolution. Said to hold sixty million dollars and land documentation papers proving true ownership of properties illegally confiscated under the Castro regime worth even more. He accepts.
The plan is for Mac and Sara to blend into an educational tour on the island. Then slip away unnoticed, make their way to the cave, find the trunk and then scoot down the beach and hitch a ride home on The Maine. Simple right? Not in the current environment and not with Nelson DeMille holding the pen.
Expertly researched and set just as the cold war era relationship began to soften, DeMille has delivered an authentic portrayal of Cuban-American relations and life on the island. The characters are sharp, deeply drawn and well thought out. No stick figures here! I feel like I know these people. I wanted to know them and I cared about what was happening in their lives. The tempo was fast, with lots of intelligent, strategically placed action. (No over-the-top, blow everything up for no reason stuff.) The plot unfolded layer by layer, building the excitement and tension like the slow chug of a roller coaster up a hill. (I caught myself holding my breath more than once.)
Fast-paced, hold onto your seat action sequences, intelligent dialogue, and DeMille’s one-of-a-kind humor — what more could a reader ask for? It’s beautiful, touching, thrilling and most of all entertaining. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a well-written story.