Alpha Alpine

Alpha Alpine
Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday
Flashback Friday

Friday, January 19, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- In the Woods by Tana French- Feature and Review


A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.



In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)In the Woods by Tana French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! What a story. I don't know where to start. This a very good mystery and police procedural, with deeply drawn characters, who are very human, very real- so much so, the story felt real.

While I had heard good things about this book, I was not prepared to be this blown away by it. The writing is exceptional, drawing so deeply into the story, I didn't want to put the down, not even for a bathroom break.

Cassie Maddox, and her partner Rob Ryan, investigate the murder of a twelve year old girl. The murder takes Rob back to his own childhood, where he himself was involved in an unresolved mystery .

Rob and Cassie hit it off quickly and become very close friends. But, this case takes a heavy toll on their personal and professional relationship.

The novel is one part police procedural and one part " whodunit ", with a few laugh out loud moments tossed in to lighten the mood.  I found Rob's dry wit enjoyable, and he is a fine first person storyteller.

The story is very sad and not every loose end was tied up, just like in real life. We don't usually get to find out everything we would like to, as there is always a piece of the puzzle that defies explanation or remains elusive.  Justice isn't always served the way it should be and people make mistakes, so be prepared for a realistic conclusion.

I'm extremely impressed with the literary style of this novel and am really looking forward to subsequent installments of this very promising series!





Tana French is the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim - Feature and Review


Emma Lord is back and better than ever! This time around, the amateur detective partners up with a rookie sleuth to investigate a string of murders in her beloved Alpine, Washington.

For a small town nestled in the Cascade Mountains’ foothills, picturesque Alpine provides more than enough headlines to fill the pages of editor and publisher Emma Lord’s Alpine Advocate. The Labor Day edition’s lead story features controversial timber baron Jack Blackwell’s scheme to become Skykomish county manager. But the recent strangling deaths of two young women are all anyone can talk about.

After a third body is found, Emma’s husband, Sheriff Milo Dodge, suspects there’s a serial killer in their midst. The latest victim is the sister of a dashing newcomer rumored to be working for Blackwell. “Black Jack,” as he’s known to his non-admirers, has a long-standing rivalry with Milo. To discover if there’s any connection between the mogul and the murders, Emma recruits the Advocate’s receptionist, Alison Lindahl, to do a little digging. 

Still recovering from a recent breakup, Alison welcomes the distraction. But when the investigation puts the eager protégé in the line of fire, Emma worries that the cub reporter’s career will be over before it even begins.


Alpha Alpine (Emma Lord #27)Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim is a 2017 Alibi publication.

It feels so good to touch base with my old book friend, Emma Lord!!

Once I’d turned the final page of ‘Alpine Zen’, I felt certain the series was at a close. The ending of ‘Zen’ was almost perfect and set the stage for Emma and Milo to peacefully move forward with their life and marriage, free of some heavy personal burdens standing in their way.

But, deep down I hoped it wasn’t really the end. To my great delight I discovered Dahiem was continuing the series and wasted no time requesting this latest installment from Netgalley!!

For those following the series, the story picks up where we left off, more or less, with most of the loose ends tied up.

But, ‘Jack Black’ is back up to his old tricks, giving Milo plenty to worry about. But, the atmosphere in Alpine, turns a little dark and tense, when a young woman is found murdered and Milo suspects she might be the latest victim of a serial killer.

Emma believes there could be a connection between Jack Black and the murders, so she commissions her receptionist, Alison, to do a little sleuthing on the side. However, Emma soon begins to worry that Alison has started to enjoy playing detective a little too much, which could land her in the killer's cross hairs.

The mystery here touches on some timely issues, and seemed just a tiny bit edgier to me for some reason. But, the familiar characters we’ve come to know are here, and the banter between Emma and Milo has settled into newlywed bliss, but with an 'old married couple' slant to it. They are such a cute couple and laugh out loud funny sometimes. For those just joining us, you may find their banter a bit shocking, but once you get to know them, you will see just how crazy they are for each other.

For me, part of what makes this series so great is touching base with the characters, returning to the idyllic locale of Alpine, and spying on all the drama and mayhem. But, even if you haven’t read all the books in the series, or are starting out with this one, the crime elements are exceptional, the characters were exactly on cue, and the dialogue is sharp and witty.

Every time I read a book in this series, I wish I had the time to go back and read the series from the beginning, because it really is that good.

Fans of Emma Lord will love this one, but this one might be a great place for people who haven’t read the series to jump on board, as well. Obviously, there is some history you may feel you are missing out on, but this installment also has a ‘fresh start’ feel to it. Reading ‘Alpine Zen’ would set the stage for you a little better, but you won’t need to read all the twenty-six installments to catch up.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It may not be the strongest chapter of the series, but after twenty-seven installments, it is still fresh, still sharp, and Emma and Milo are as delightfully cranky as ever.





Mary Richardson Daheim has been fascinated by story-telling since early childhood. She first listened, then read, and finally began to write her own fiction when she was ten. A journalism major at the University of Washington, she was the first female editor of The Daily where she attracted national attention with her editorial stance against bigotry. 

After getting her B.A., she worked in newspapers and public relations, but in her spare time she tried her hand at novels.

In 1983, Daheim’s first historical romance was published, followed by a half-dozen more before she switched genres to her original fictional love, mysteries. Just Desserts and Fowl Prey, the first books of thirty in the Bed-and-Breakfast series were released in 1991.

A year later, the Emma Lord series made its debut with The Alpine Advocate. Daheim has also written several short stories for mystery anthologies and magazines. 

Married to professor emeritus and playwright David Daheim, the couple lives in Seattle and has three grown daughters. She has been an Agatha Award nominee, winner of the 2000 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Achievement Award, and her mysteries regularly make the USA Today bestseller list and the New York Times top thirty. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak- Feature and Review


“A gorgeous novel that finds beauty in the most unlikely of places.” —Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling authorSet in 1950s Louisiana, Mandy Mikulencak’s beautifully written and emotionally moving novel evokes both The Help and Dead Man Walking with the story of an unforgettable woman whose quest to provide meals for death row prisoners leads her into the secrets of her own past.

Many children have grown up in the shadow of Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary. Most of them—sons and daughters of corrections officers and staff—left the place as soon as they could. Yet Ginny Polk chose to come back to work as a prison cook. She knows the harsh reality of life within those walls—the cries of men being beaten, the lines of shuffling inmates chained together. Yet she has never seen them as monsters, not even the ones sentenced to execution. That’s why, among her duties, Ginny has taken on a special responsibility: preparing their last meals.

Pot roast or red beans and rice, coconut cake with seven-minute frosting or pork neck stew . . . whatever the men ask for Ginny prepares, even meeting with their heartbroken relatives to get each recipe just right. It’s her way of honoring their humanity, showing some compassion in their final hours. The prison board frowns upon the ritual, as does Roscoe Simms, Greenmount’s Warden. Her daddy’s best friend before he was murdered, Roscoe has always watched out for Ginny, and their friendship has evolved into something deep and unexpected. But when Ginny stumbles upon information about the man executed for killing her father, it leads to a series of dark and painful revelations.

Truth, justice, mercy—none of these are as simple as Ginny once believed. And the most shocking crimes may not be the ones committed out of anger or greed, but the sacrifices we make for love.



The Last Suppers

The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Last Suppers is a 2017 Mandy Mikulencak Kensington publication.

A thought provoking, complex, and moving story-

Ginny works at Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary during the 1950’s as a prison cook. She has started a program for the death row inmates where she offers to cook them anything they desire for their ‘last meal.'

Ginny has a very complicated past which, once it is revealed, will explain her deep devotion to her job, which has wrought complications between her mother, Miriam, and her lover, Roscoe, who just so happens to be the prison warden.

Roscoe and Ginny try to keep their relationship a secret, along with Ginny’s offer to cook for the worst of the worst inmates, but the entire balancing act soon begins to topple over when shocking revelations come to light regarding the death of Ginny’s father, many years ago.

I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but this certainly wasn’t it. Wow. I confess I’m feeling a bit stunned by this novel.

The story has the potential to reach a broad audience because it is more than just historical fiction. It is also a family drama and a mystery, with a controversial love story, featuring the importance of food -the memories and comfort it can evoke- rounding things out.

The story touches on a myriad of topics, such as racial tensions, defying social norms, the death penalty, and compassion for the families of death row inmates, just to name a few.

Ginny’s psychological need to provide these meals harkens back to a hideous decision her mother made, and the deep impact it has on Ginny in her adult life, including her relationship with Roscoe.

This is a heartbreaking story that juxtapositions the best and worst of humanity, zeroing in on the blurred lines between prisoners and their families, who also suffer the intense pain of losing a loved one and the stigma they live with.

While it may seem that Ginny is offering cold-blooded murderers generosity he certainly does not deserve, I believe in her heart, it was just as much about offering a bit of comfort to the inmates’ family, as well as assuaging her own guilt.

But, at the heart of the story is the role food plays in our lives, under the best and the very worst of times. It’s not so much about feeding the body as it is about feeding the spirit, and offering solace for the soul.

In so many ways this book broke my heart, but it was also inspirational in a way, and shows the flip side the coin, allowing me to view things from an angle I have rarely considered.

Southern fiction is a favorite of mine, as is historical fiction, so these factors added the right atmosphere for such an original and beautifully written book.

As an added bonus, the author added a few of the recipes for the food mentioned in the book, which included some old southern dishes many people have probably never heard of. I make my own Chow Chow, by the way, but the recipe here was much more involved than anything I’ve ever attempted, which I found very interesting.

This story will stick with me for a long time to come. I recommend it to historical fiction fans, but I think it's a story that will resonate with anyone who appreciates good storytelling.





Mandy Mikulencak has been a writer her entire working life. First, as a journalist then as an editor and PR specialist for two national nonprofits and a United Nations agency. Today she lives in the mountains of Southwest Colorado with her husband, Andy. Her first book, Burn Girl, has been honored with a 2016 Westchester Fiction Award. Her next book, The Last Suppers, will be released Dec. 26, 2017, from Kensington Publishing's new hardcover imprint, John Scognamiglio Books. www.mandymikulencak.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen- Feature and Review


A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US is the debut novel of co-authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Hendricks, a former book editor with a major New York publishing house, lives in Manhattan with her family. Pekkanen, the author of seven bestselling solo novels, lives in Maryland with her three sons. THE WIFE BETWEEN US has been sold in 30 countries and optioned for film by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners. It is a Book of the Month Club Pick, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and an Indie Next Pick. Hendricks and Pekkanen are currently at work on their next novel, also a psychological thriller.





The Wife Between UsThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wife Between Us is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Engrossing domestic thriller!

This book got such a tremendous response from my fellow GR friends, I shot it up to the top of my TBR list, ignoring my usual cautionary optimistic approach to well received popular books, because I just had a feeling this one would deliver.

Richard’s first wife, Vanessa, was dumped for a younger woman after many years of marriage. Gone were all the trappings of wealth she had enjoyed as she struggles to put her life back in order.

Forced to live with her aunt and take a job at Saks, Vanessa’s thinks obsessively about Richard’s new girlfriend, Nellie, while consuming large quantities of alcohol. When she inadvertently finds out that Richard plans to remarry, her fragile state of mind spirals out of control. The only thing she can think about is confronting Nellie for a face to face showdown.

Nellie, by all appearances, seems like a sweet girl, perhaps a bit naïve, completely smitten with her fiancé, Richard. She can’t wait to start her new, ‘dream come true' life with her dashing, successful husband. But, she, too, may have a few dark secrets lurking in her past. But, unbeknownst to Nellie, she is being watched, even stalked by a woman whose driving force in life is to prevent her wedding from ever taking place.

The author did a fantastic job of doling out just the right amount of information at key intervals, subtly changing the dynamics of the story by giving the reader another possible angle to explore.

My initial impressions of the situation presented to me, morphs little by little, as pieces of the puzzle are slowly revealed. Once the entire jigsaw puzzle is complete, the picture staring back at me, looks nothing at all like what I was expecting.

This story has a few surprises I never saw coming. The only minor let down was that the plot had a few similarities to another book I’d read just a few weeks ago, which deflated the balloon a little, but not too much, because it didn’t become obvious until I was already very deep into the book.

The truth is, the author kept me guessing and on my toes pretty much from start to finish. I was a bit conflicted about the final turn of the screw. I usually love all that added relish on top, but lately those late minute plot twists are becoming all too common, making them more tiresome than anything else and falling flat, as a result. In this case, the story could have ended quite satisfactorily without that final revelation, but I suppose, since it was a complete shock to me, I must grudgingly concede my approval for sneaking that one by me completely undetected.

Overall,  I may not have gushed over this one quite as much as my contemporaries, but this is a pretty solid and entertaining domestic thriller, certainly worth checking out.





Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. Prior to her tenure in publishing, she worked at Allure magazine and obtained her master's in journalism from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children. The Wife Between Us is her first novel.

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels THE PERFECT NEIGHBORS, THINGS YOU WON'T SAY, CATCHING AIR, THE BEST OF US, THESE GIRLS, SKIPPING A BEAT and THE OPPOSITE OF ME. 

Her upcoming novel THE WIFE BETWEEN US is a twisty psychological tale co-authored by Sarah and her former editor Greer Hendricks. It will be released in January 2018.

Please find Sarah on Facebook, Instagram and twitter @sarahpekkanen! 

BIO: Sarah is the mother of three boys, which explains why she wrote part of her novel at Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously. Sarah penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true. Please visit www.sarahpekkanen.com

Monday, January 15, 2018

MONDAY'S MUSICAL MOMENT- Maurice White: My Life With Earth, Wind, & Fire- Feature and Review


The late Grammy-winning founder of the legendary pop/R&B/soul/funk/disco group tells his story and charts the rise of his legendary band in this sincere memoir that captures the heart and soul of an artist whose groundbreaking sound continues to influence music today. 

"To the readers of this book you need to know that EW&F is simply the greatest living group in my lifetime. No one put together lyrics to a melody like they did; no one put harmony to sound and rhythm like they did; no one added horns in the way that they did and no one, but no one messed with our minds about love and life like they did. . . . EARTH because they grow on you; WIND because it moves you in one loving direction and FIRE because they consume your heart in a single flame of love."—Steve Harvey

With its dynamic horns, contrasting vocals, and vivid stage shows, Earth, Wind & Fire was one of the most popular acts of the late twentieth century—the band "that changed the sound of black pop" (Rolling Stone)—and its music continues to inspire modern artists including Usher, Jay-Z, Cee-Lo Green, and Outkast. At last, the band’s founder, Maurice White, shares the story of his success.

White reflects on the great blessings music has brought to his life and the struggles he’s endured: his mother leaving him behind in Memphis when he was four; learning to play the drums with Booker T. Jones; moving to Chicago at eighteen and later Los Angeles after leaving the Ramsey Lewis Trio; forming EWF, only to have the original group fall apart; working with Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond; his diagnosis of Parkinson’s; and his final public performance with the group at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Through it all, White credits his faith for his amazing success and guidance in overcoming his many challenges.

My Life with Earth Wind, and Fire is an intimate, moving, and beautiful memoir from a man whose creativity and determination carried him to great success, and whose faith enabled him to savor every moment.


My Life with Earth, Wind, & FireMy Life with Earth, Wind, & Fire by Maurice White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maurice White: My Life with Earth, Wind and Fire is a 2016 Amistad publication.

To be completely honest, I have no recollection of checking this book out of the library. I got a notification from my Overdrive library letting me know a book I had on hold was ready to be downloaded. To my surprise, this book, along with the one I had been expecting, was sitting in my queue.

I almost returned it, but then decided it might be a good choice for my ‘Monday Musical Moments’ feature on my blog.

I’m very glad I decided to go ahead with this book, even if I had to work it into my tight reading schedule.

In the beginning, the writing was a little rough, mainly because I felt like things were moving along at a breakneck speed, which left little room for an intimate look at Maurice, his music, his relationships, and so on.

However, as the book progressed, the frenetic pacing did slow down a little and a rhythm developed. The more I discovered about Maurice, the more I started to like him.

He was a smart, well read man, very spiritual, with an open mind, and was refreshingly honest about the way he lived his life.

Despite his having glossed over large chunks of time, I could relate to White’s introverted nature, and could understand his mindset, and picked up on how uncomfortable he felt about divulging personal aspects his life.

I always liked EW&F, but was more of a casual fan. While Maurice may have been the founder of the group, the person I always associated it with was Phillip Bailey.

However, this book did remind me of just how many hits the group had, how influential they were, and what a huge impact they had on fans during some very turbulent times.

Earth, Wind & Fire has been around for many years, and even today, they made an appearance on the 2018 Rose Bowl Parade, and I’ve had ‘September' in my head ever since.

But, while the band is still out there doing their thing, sadly Maurice is no longer with us. His death, from Parkinson’s Disease in 2016, gives this book, which is a memoir/autobiography, a haunting tone.

Overall, it is too bad the book wasn’t fleshed out just a bit more, but I still found it enlightening, interesting, and of course poignant.







Maurice White was an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger and bandleader. He is the founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. White served as the band's main songwriter and record producer, and was co-lead singer along with Philip Bailey. Earth, Wind & Fire was famous for spanning the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, and more. White won seven Grammys, and was nominated for 21 Grammys in total. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire in 2000.

Friday, January 12, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Them Bones by Carolyn Haines- Feature and Review


No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth's situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she's flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state--or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend's prize pooch to raise some cash.

But soon Sarah Booth's walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she's hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself...and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.



Them Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #1)Them Bones by Carolyn Haines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Them Bones by Carolyn Haines is a 1999 Bantam publication.

I’m going to love this series!

Sarah Booth, from Mississippi, and born into old money, is haunted by her great, great, grandmother’s nanny, has defied southern tradition all her life. Now past thirty, unemployed, and most importantly to society- still single, she has returned to her southern roots, but finds herself in extreme financial straits.

But, with her family estate on the line, she has begun to resort to desperate antics to keep her debtors at bay. When one of her friends hires her to churn up some dirt on the Garrett family, who is known for having more than their fare share of skeletons in the closet, Sarah discovers she has a few natural investigation skills.

I don’t need to start another long running series, but I happened to stumble across nearly the entire series of books at my local used bookstore this past summer, and I’ve been itching to get started on it.

This first book was not a disappointment and has me considering something I never ever do- binge read an entire series!

Haines captures the peculiarities, atmosphere, and mentality of the deep south, perfectly. Sarah is open minded, big and soft hearted, but desperation has her doing things she never would have dreamed of. I enjoyed watching her deal with the conflicting emotions she wrestled with, with one foot firmly set in old southern traditions and the other foot firmly devoted to her determination to maintain her independence.

The paranormal aspects are fun, and the light romantic tones added a nice touch, as well. But, the mystery is very interesting, and will expose a sordid family saga and finally pave the way for long overdue justice.

I can’t wait to see how Sarah’s character develops over time and what kind of adventures she will get herself involved in next!




Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of over eighty novels in a number of genres, including the acclaimed Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series, the Pluto's Snitch mystery series, and the Familiar Legacy romantic mystery series. 

Sign up for Carolyn Haines' newsletter and receive a free short story as a welcome gift at www.carolynhaines.com/subscribe

Haines was honored with the prestigious 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Haines was also 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished writing. Her novel BONE TO BE WILD was named best suspense for 2014, and the Sarah Booth Delaney series was also named best amateur sleuth. Two of the Sarah Booth books were included in the "Best 5 mysteries of the year" by LIBRARY JOURNAL. 

Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of! She has been an animal advocate and activist her whole life and urges all pet owners to please spay and neuter.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille - Feature and Review

From the legendary #1 New York Times bestselling author of Plum Island and Night Fall, Nelson DeMille’s blistering new novel features an exciting new character—US Army combat veteran Daniel “Mac” MacCormick, now a charter boat captain, who is about to set sail on his most dangerous cruise.

Daniel Graham MacCormick—Mac for short—seems to have a pretty good life. At age thirty-five he’s living in Key West, owner of a forty-two-foot charter fishing boat, The Maine. Mac served five years in the Army as an infantry officer with two tours in Afghanistan. He returned with the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, scars that don’t tan, and a boat with a big bank loan. Truth be told, Mac’s finances are more than a little shaky.

One day, Mac is sitting in the famous Green Parrot Bar in Key West, contemplating his life, and waiting for Carlos, a hotshot Miami lawyer heavily involved with anti-Castro groups. Carlos wants to hire Mac and The Maine for a ten-day fishing tournament to Cuba at the standard rate, but Mac suspects there is more to this and turns it down. The price then goes up to two million dollars, and Mac agrees to hear the deal, and meet Carlos’s clients—a beautiful Cuban-American woman named Sara Ortega, and a mysterious older Cuban exile, Eduardo Valazquez.

What Mac learns is that there is sixty million American dollars hidden in Cuba by Sara’s grandfather when he fled Castro’s revolution. With the “Cuban Thaw” underway between Havana and Washington, Carlos, Eduardo, and Sara know it’s only a matter of time before someone finds the stash—by accident or on purpose. And Mac knows if he accepts this job, he’ll walk away rich…or not at all.

Brilliantly written, with his signature humor, fascinating authenticity from his research trip to Cuba, and heart-pounding pace, Nelson DeMille is a true master of the genre.




 The Cuban AffairThe Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille is a 2017 Simon & Schuster publication.

Fast paced adventure and international intrigue-

Daniel MacCormick, formerly of Maine, is a military veteran, now residing in Key West, and is the proud part owner, along with the bank, of a boat he has cleverly dubbed ‘The Maine’. When he is approached about a possible job, he knows immediately this is not an ordinary client out for a fishing expedition or romantic cruise.

Sure enough, Daniel is offered the chance to hit pay dirt, with a multi-million -dollar payday attached. Naturally, there is a catch- a big one.

Daniel will have to take his clients into Cuba in search of a huge stash of cash. His partner in crime is the beautiful Sara Ortega, whose grandfather hid the cash they are out to retrieve, now that there has been a ‘Cuban Thaw’.

Thus, begins the harrowing, but life altering adventure that will end up meaning a lot more than the promise of instant wealth.

I’ve read several DeMille novels over the years, but this one has a slightly different tone to it, but still employs some of the DeMille’s trademark themes. Daniel is a character I was slow to warm up to. I wasn’t quite sure how to take him at first, as he seemed immature one minute and an old soul the next. But, I eventually caught on and soon began to appreciate his internal dialogue, which was often sarcastic, witty and funny and kept the mood from becoming too somber or heavy.

The story takes on a very serious tone, however, once the setup is complete, but I liked the noble cause behind the adventure, which made the mission seem more important and more suspenseful. The story paints a very complex and complicated and eye opening view of Cuba, which is not altogether flattering. Sara and Daniel are constantly tip toeing around potential land mines, as they are monitored very carefully, while they also find themselves coping with the unexpected feelings developing between them.

The story is filled with international intrigue, and adventure, pulling off a caper or heist-like tone, which kept the pace moving along at a brisk pace, and kept me engaged in the story from start to finish.

Overall, this is a quick, suspenseful, and entertaining read. I think I’d enjoy hearing from Daniel MacCormick again someday.





DeMille's first major novel was By the Rivers of Babylon, published in 1978, and is still in print as are all his succeeding novels. He is a member of American Mensa, The Authors Guild, and is past president of the Mystery Writers of America. He is also a member of International Thriller Writers and was chosen as ThrillerMaster of the Year 2015. He holds three honorary doctorates: Doctor of Humane Letters from Hofstra University, Doctor of Literature from Long Island University, and Doctor of Humane Letters from Dowling College.