“Havana Bay” by Martin Cruz Smith

“Wonderfully Set, Wonderfully Described”
Score: 4/5

Martin Cruz Smith

Just as Gorky Park made me realise how little I knew about Russia and made me want to visit Moscow, so this book, by the same author and featuring the same detective, makes me realise I know next to nothing about Cuba and makes me want to see Havana in person.

I’ll not bore you with the details – it’s a fairly standard detective novel – but what separates it are the setting and the protagonist’s viewpoint.  It’s set almost entirely in Cuba, and we get to see it not through a native’s eyes, nor through a tourist’s eyes, but through a tired Russian’s eyes.  This happens at a time when many Cubans feel betrayed by Russia, so it’s fertile ground for prejudices and old grudges.

Just sit back with a rum when you’re reading this, and enjoy the spectacle.

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