Review: Havana Queen ~ James Bruno

Havana QueenWhat happens when Fidel dies?

Cuba explodes.

Political turmoil engulfs Cuba. As the Castros’ rendezvous with mortality finally arrives, FBI Agent Nick Castillo is swept up in a maelstrom of espionage, intrigue and guerrilla war. Amazon Kindle Bestselling author James Bruno delivers another knockout thriller!

Cuba roils with political unrest as Fidel and Raul Castro sink deeper into dementia and failing health. In a desperate ploy to save the communist regime, sultry Cuban spymaster Larisa Montilla takes on the CIA in a tit-for-tat shadow war of assassination. As the bodies pile up, FBI Agent Nick Castillo defies orders and travels clandestinely to Havana. Nick gets more than he bargained for, falling into a trap set by Montilla, Fidel’s heir to power. But Montilla’s leverage over Nick is matched by his discovery of a deep secret in her past, leading to a war of wits.

Nick returns to ferret out a web of spies deep inside the U.S. government which Havana has patiently built up over the years — traitors who are hemorrhaging official secrets. But he must navigate a wilderness of mirrors that leads him to an assassination plot against the Castros’ No. 1 enemy – the President of the United States.

The Castro propaganda machine has denounced Havana Queen as a “subversive act against the Cuban government.”

Steeped in the world of government secrets, with service in Cuba and Gitmo, the author makes you feel like you’ve been cleared into a Top Secret program, confident that you have the inside information.

4 Thumbs-Up

This book will definitely take you out of your comfort zone and in some places, have you actually questioning the way you live and interact with the world around you.  As I read this, I actually found myself stopping at certain places to think about the political upheaval in the world today, and how easily this novel could be an insight into that world we may be heading for.

The Author shows great skill when it comes to writing his characters and developing them to a point where you know just enough about them to discern the good from the bad, and leaving your imagination to fill in the blanks.  I really liked this approach to character development, as sometimes Authors can put you into overdrive with their in-depth back stories; this was not the case with this novel and means that each reader will find something unique to them when indulging in this fast paced book.  Unlike many books in this political genre it isn’t until you are several chapters into the book that you begin to identify who the main protagonist is, and this had me slightly confused and thinking I had overlooked them in earlier chapters; this in no way detracts from the readers enjoyment of the book, and adds an extra dimension to it giving the reader an ‘aha!’ moment when they discover them.

Having never been to Cuba, the locale for the book, I wasn’t able to give an educated guess as to whether his descriptions of the island were accurate or not, but as he has knowledge of the area I was definitely certain they were.  I felt that I was seeing the squalor some of the characters lived in, and felt the inequality between the haves and have-nots in this world.  The Author has an uncanny way of portraying an interesting and very realistic look into a country many of us only know from the news reports regarding Cuba.

Pulling on his experience and knowledge of all things mentioned within its pages the Authors writing takes on a personal air, almost memoir like, but this does not make the book dry in any way at all.  It is a novel filled from the first page with gripping action and suspense; the reader has plenty of intrigue, politics and spies to keep them entertained to the last page.  For me, after all the action in the novel, it came to a rather abrupt ending and had me wondering if I had missed something earlier in the book or, even better, a sequel was in the works.  I did find part of the story to be unnecessary and drawn out also feeling that it may have been included to titillate the reader; for me it did nothing to add to the book and even had me yawning at times, but other readers may enjoy this sort of thing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes an intriguing read or is just looking for more insight on Cuba; pick it up too if you are looking for something enjoyable.  Readers of the political/spy/thriller genre would also find this interesting.

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