Featured Review: ‘The Cuban Affair’ by Nelson DeMille

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Set in 2015, Nelson DeMille introduces readers to Daniel “Mac” MacCormick, a thirty-five-year-old army vet who left the military and settled in Key West. Up to his eyeballs in debt, Mac still owes much of the quarter million dollars he borrowed from the bank to purchase The Maine, a forty-two-foot charter fishing boat he captains.

So when a big-money offer lands in his lap, Mac can’t help but look past the potential danger, as long as it means getting paid… 

After meeting with Carlos, a Miami-based lawyer who has ties to anti-Castro groups, Mac agrees to a meet-and-greet with potential clients, who inform him that they’d like to hire Mac, his first mate Jack Colby (a colorful, foul-mouthed Vietnam veteran whose favorite piece of clothing is a “Guns don’t kill people. I kill people” t-shirt), and The Maine to accompany them on a ten-day fishing tournament near Cuba. 

Over drinks, the clients–Eduardo Valazquez and Sara Ortega, a beautiful Cuban-American–lay out the real nature of the job they want to hire Mac to help with. Precious documents and bundles of cash were hidden by Sara’s grandfather in a cave during the Cuban Revolution more than fifty years ago. They want Mac to head over with Sara to recover the treasure, leaving Jack and Sara’s partner to do the fishing–a front for the real mission. 

Sara and the people she represents need The Maine, sure, but they also need Mac’s skill set as a former decorated combat soldier in case things take a dangerous turn–which, of course, they do almost as soon as their feet touch Cuban soil.

Soon, Mac and Sara find themselves on the run, in all kinds of trouble, and with nobody to trust. It’s just the type of high-pressure, suspenseful situation that DeMille’s fans are used to seeing his characters try and navigate through time and time again. 

Readers who were disappointed that this book wouldn’t feature John Corey as the protagonist have nothing to worry about. Mac is one more on a long list of terrific characters created and developed by DeMille. Sarcastic as anyone, Mac’s first-person narrative provides numerous laugh-out-loud moments, including early on when Carlos introduces himself as a Cuban-American and Mac quips, “I don’t know why I needed to know that, but I told him I was Scotish-Irish-English-American, in case he was wondering.” 

Nobody develops a new character on the fly while still advancing the story better than Nelson DeMille, who puts on a clinic with the way he manages to make readers embrace and relate to Mac early on without spending any significant time away from the actual plot. Likewise, the author, who traveled to Cuba to do research for the novel, brings the setting to life using vibrant, vivid descriptions of what Cuba actually looks and smells like. 

It’s been a little over two years since DeMille’s last thriller, Radiant Angel, hit bookstores, and The Cuban Affair is well worth the wait and then some. The colorful descriptions and nail-biting suspense enrich the reading experience, but the sizzling plot and DeMille’s strong new lead character drive the story onward at blazing speeds.

The Cuban Affair is a fun, exciting new thriller from one of the genre’s most iconic authors. Thriller fans should run and not walk to pick this one up the second it hits bookstore shelves! 

Book Details

Author: Nelson DeMille
Pages: 448 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501101722
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
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