Our GG in Havana: Pedro Juan Gutierrez
I never had the chance to experience Havana in all its pre-Castro decadence, but the sex clubs (and transvestite prostitutes) and mafia controlled casinos are graphically described by Gutierrez. The novel gives an insight into what was happening before Castro took over, the conflict between communists, fascists and the mafia for control of Cuba under the corrupt Battista regime. The plot is an intriguing conceit (though I wasn’t convinced by it!) and quite enjoyable to read. Pedro Juan Gutierrez seems to be an interesting author though, and I might now go and read his ‘Dirty Havana’ trilogy.
It’s 1989. The CIA are running a drug operation between Colombia, Cuba and Miami, with the object of discrediting the Castro regime. Members of Castro’s government think that they themselves are running the operation as part of their strategy to undermine the moral reputation of the USA. A whistle blower, loyal to revolutionary principles, threatens to jeopardise the operation for both sides. Enter Robert Lonsdale, CIA agent, licensed to kill, who finds himself being used by his political masters for their own purposes. Based on a real episode in Cuban history, it’s sometimes hard to know when the facts end and the fictions begin.
Robert Landori is good on the Cuban setting and he paces the action very well. He’s very good on the corrupt money laundering aspects of shady government operations. He also seems to share a good deal of history with his fictional hero - both were born in Hungary and both have a background in international finance and the invisible services.
The book is published by the Greenleaf Book Group/Emerald Book Company in America. This serves ‘Independent Authors’, both publishing, publicising and distributing their work. Their online CV is impressive and certainly one of the best of the so-called ‘self-publishing’ outfits. They certainly work at the marketing aspect and they claim to also exercise a filtering policy on the mss that they accept. ‘Independent’ publishing seems to be the way to go these days for a lot of authors. Certainly Robert Landori’s book is in the same league as many commercially produced thrillers that I’ve read - some of them very much hyped. I wish him good luck.