Havana: An Earl Swagger Novel

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9780743457972: Havana: An Earl Swagger Novel
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Outgunning all others in the arena of razor-edged action and sheer guts, New york Times bestselling author Stephen Hunter plunges Earl Swagger deep into a steamy underworld of power, politics, and blood...
Cuba 1953: The island is on fire.
The Mafia-run casinos are rolling, and it's just a 30-minute flight from Miami to a world of vice, gambling, sex, and drugs. The money is there for anyone who knows how to get it, including the Cuban government and the police, who want to keep their ally Uncle Sam happy. There's only one threat to this corrupt utopia: a silver-tongued, daring young revolutionary named Fidel Castro. With the Cold War underway, the Soviet Union has sent a sophisticated veteran agent to find and support the young upstart. To counter, the CIA has summoned Medal of Honor-winning ex-marine Sergeant Earl Swagger, whose heroic exploits have earned him the reputation of a man who doesn't know how to lose. But he's not just going to find Castro....
He's going to kill him.

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Review:

The field of male fantasy fiction receives a generous literary boost with the publication of Havana, Stephen Hunter's third novel (following Hot Springs and Pale Horse Coming) to feature straight-shooting ex-Marine and Arkansas state policeman Earl Swagger.

Reluctantly leaving his wife and hero-worshipping son at home, Swagger flies off to Cuba in 1953 to act as a bodyguard for "Boss" Harry Etheridge, a rainmaking Southern congressman who proposes investigating the influence of New York gangsters on the Guantanamo Naval Base. Almost as soon as his lungs fill with the humid Caribbean air, Swagger regrets accepting this assignment. Not only must he contend with posturing, backstabbing U.S. intelligence agents, but Boss Harry proves to be both incautiously lustful (forcing Earl to rescue him from a Havana brothel confrontation) and a big target for mobsters who don't want American politicians or anyone else upsetting the profitable criminal equilibrium of Batista-era Cuba. Swagger exacerbates the risk to his longevity by agreeing to help the U.S. government assassinate Cuba's revolutionary darling of the moment, Fidel Castro--a task that will pit this Arkansas lawman against a disenchanted Russian killer who's been charged with protecting and mentoring the 26-year-old agitator.

Given Swagger's well-established weaponry skills, it's hardly surprising that Havana is peppered with tightly choreographed shootouts, both on dusty country roads and in a Zanja Street porno theater full of moaning patrons. That's the male fantasy part; this novel's literary inclination shows in its portrayal of Havana as a richly decadent city full of shiny-fendered Cadillacs, jaded whores, and casinos flushing money onto Florida-bound boats. While Ernest Hemingway and mob boss Meyer Lansky make cameo appearances here, only Castro leaves much of an impression, whether he's bumbling through an attack on a military barracks or defending himself against a father who thinks him lazy, vain, and "womanly" ("I am between opportunities, but I swear to you, I am a man of destiny"). Although Swagger's climactic gunfight tests the limits of credibility, Havana remains an unusually substantive page-turner, expertly blending hostilities with humor and heart. --J. Kingston Pierce

About the Author:

Stephen Hunter has written eighteen novels. The retired chief film critic for The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, he has also published two collections of film criticism and a nonfiction work, American Gunfight. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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9780099471448: Havana

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ISBN 10:  0099471442 ISBN 13:  9780099471448
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd, 2004
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9780743238083: Havana: An Earl Swagger Novel

Simon ..., 2003
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9781451627244: Havana: An Earl Swagger Novel

Pocket..., 2011
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9780743261029: HAVANA.

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9780786259014: Havana: An Earl Swagger Novel

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