Bad Girls

Written by Alex de Campi Victor Santos (illus.)
Review by Ann Chamberlin

New Year’s Eve, 1958. As dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the country and Fidel Castro stands poised to take over the island of Cuba, those with much to lose in a communist takeover, including US tourists in Cuba for the resort gambling and celebrating, take desperate measures to leave, although most are not as aware of what’s happening as the natives. Three women who’ve all been exploited by this system, and the daughter of one of those women, also want to leave, and high-rent airplanes are out of their price range. Luckily, there are stolen suitcases of dirty money to be had.

The differences between a gangster’s moll, a jazz singer and a mambo queen as well as the advertised six million dollars aren’t clear to me. Of course, there are diamonds, not advertised on the jacket, and those are more interesting. The graphic novel does not help with character building and motivation, but tells a hard-edged story with period-appropriate images. I do not think this format will satisfy many historical novel readers, but I can imagine that a young audience, especially one with familial ties to the events, might find it a quick and captivating read.