Friday, November 25, 2011

Havana - Book Review

Havana, the last of Stephen Hunter's Earl Swagger novels, is set in, well, Havana, where this time Earl is recruited by CIA types to take out none other than, who else, Fidel Castro.

Need to know about Havana in the early 50s, before Castro came to power? (You know, around the time as it's depicted in Godfather 2?) Here's your book! Full of gangsters and government-types and revolutionaries, and mojitos and cigars all under a blazing tropical sun it's Hunter's fever dream of the era, mixed with real events and his fictional character, all wrapped up with a nice show down between our hero and the bad guys. No, it can't come near Hunter's masterpiece in the series, it'still a fine example of Hunter's writing powers.  Sadly, though, it's apparently the last we'll see of ol' Earl in a book of his own. In his next book, Hunter will then pick up where he left off with Earl's son, Bob Lee, but now we know as we read those books more about this larger-than-life hero that looms so large in Bob Lee's mind.

Stick around to the end:  Hunter includes two articles he wrote for The Washington Post that resulted from his research trips to Havana - one about Castro's raid on the  Moncada Barracks and another on the Shanghai Theater.  I hope the links work but if you click through you'll get a good sense of Hunter's writing style.    

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