The second book in David C. Taylor's transporting historical crime-fiction series.
Michael Cassidy, a New York cop plagued by dreams that sometimes come true, escorts a prisoner accused of murder to Havana on the cusp of Fidel Castro's successful revolution against the Batista dictatorship. After delivering the man to La Cabaña prison and rescuing his former lover - Dylan McCue, now a Russian KGB agent - from her scheduled execution, Cassidy returns to New York and retreats into the comforts of alcohol and sex.
The arrival of Fidel Castro in New York three months later complicates the cop's life once more. Cassidy's investigation of a young man's murder in Central Park is interrupted when he is assigned to Castro's protective detail.
Castro has many enemies. American mobsters who have been run out of Havana, businessmen who worry about their investments in Cuba, and members of Batista's secret police all want him dead. Cassidy is already investigating one murder. Can he prevent another?
"Returning for Taylor's second Michael Cassidy crime novel, Keith Szarabajka delivers another stellar performance.... From his subtle indications of frustration or amusement to his pitch-perfect array of accents, Szarabajka is completely in control. His husky voice fills the bar rooms with smoke and the mobsters with venom. This series is pure audio perfection." (AudioFile)
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Both of these books are excellent.
These questions make me tired. Kind of like asking actors "What was it like working with X?" Both of the books, which I will review together, fit into a genre: rogue detectives, often of the NYPD, often sad guys who drink to drown their manifold sorrows, go off the tracks and recklessly pursue their vision of justice. And they always, I mean always, get in trouble with their superiors, who are forever telling them to settle down, take a few days off, etc. Having said that, this book is very well written and very well narrated, the latter by a man I've never heard before, Keith, I'll just say, Sz.
Not on the edge of my seat, which might be risky at my tender age, but it held my interest for sure. Michael is confronted by the FBI, double-crossed by his partner whom he very generously forgives in the end. Michael also has a peripatetic relationship with a woman named Dylan McCue, whose allegiance is truly a malleable thing. Of course she is stunning, and of course they have thrilling sex. And she is a crackerjack shot, and a KGB agent to boot. David Taylor, whom I also have not read before, runs his plot all over the place, from New York to Cuba and back, including in the Cuban section the famous gangsters, including Meyer Lansky et. al., the guys who ran the casinos before Castro took over. And, there is another femme fatale, Alice, who...I won't tell you, but it is a great twist.
Just about everything. He is clearly well trained and very skillful. There are a lot of voices to be mastered in these books, and he does them all justice. Also an interesting and unusual twist is Michael's family. His father is a Broadway impresario, as they say, whose life is full of drama (no, really) and beautiful young characters. The one thing that surprises me here is that these books, which seem to be contemporary, are nonetheless set in post-WWII NYC, and Everybody Smokes their faces off. I mean Everybody. This takes up a lot of time, believe it or don't, and you can easily see the similarities to movies of that era, in which cigarettes give the actors the opportunity to do lots of shtick with their hands, faces, meaningful looks, passions smoldering right with the cigs, etc. Imagine Bogie or Cagney or Cary Grant or anybody without some cigarette being lit, or dangling from their fingers, or the smoke dramatically moving across the gorgeous pusses.
Not really. I would like to hear another one of these. Nice work, gentlemen, and you ladies, too. Cut. It's a wrap.
- Richard Delman
David C. Taylor is a great storyteller
I think the combination of Taylor's vivid characterizations and dialogue combined with the excellent narration by Keith Szaragajka whose command of different voices and accents was what made this book so enjoyable.
Of course, my favorite characters, both of them, were Michael Cassidy and the female Russian KGB spy Dylan. They were heroic but not infallible. They had regrets and heartache for the decisions they had to make. Their connection to each other was tragic and romantic all at once.
I loved the voice Szarabajka did for the Cuban artist Robera. Just the right amount of accent and zest for life which that character seemed to relish as his role in the world of art and politics.
Not is all as it seems in the world of espionage and politics.
David C. Taylor continues to be one of my favorite authors. His skill for storytelling and character development is unparalleled. His stories are compelling and grab your attention from the first sentence. His blending of historical characters and fictional ones is seamless. One of the great crime drama authors of our generation. Keith Sarabajka does a superb job of bringing the characters to life.
- Kevin Kinkade