After Havana

Written by Charles Fleming
Review by Lorraine Gelly

After being involved in a killing in Las Vegas and winding up in Havana, Sloan is happy to bury himself in booze and music. Playing at jazz clubs at night and staying half drunk during the day is the only way he can cope with the loss of the woman he loved.

Being in Cuba in 1958 is like being on an out-of-control merry-go-round. Castro and his rebels are in the hills, and wealthy American gangsters and movie stars are drinking, whoring and gambling in Havana. Sloan manages to remain unnoticed until he sees his ex-lover, Anita, in a nightclub, on the arm of a wealthy American player.

Anita becomes a pawn between the rich American and a dedicated policeman. Cardoso works for the Security Force (secret police for Batista) and seemingly is the only moral man in a force of bigoted, drunken, violence-prone murderers. His nemesis, Delgato, one of the revolutionaries, has eluded him too often and when Cardoso learns that Anita is being held captive by Delgato and the rebels, he is determined to bring him down.

While on opposing sides, Delgato and Cardoso are good men caught in impossible situations. They stand out in a book with many fascinating characters. The author has depicted the events of the times realistically. The human drama of the lives of the Cuban people, their suffering and misery is all too real. Reading this book brings uncomfortable truths home to Americans. There is good and bad on both sides of the issues and this book will keep the reader spellbound reading about the crumbling of this small country that has had such a major impact on the U.S.