It has been over two years between
Nelson DeMille books, which is way too long. His latest, The
Cuban Affair, is classic DeMille with its action packed
story, fact based plot, witty characters, and humorous dialogue.
In this, DeMille’s twentieth novel, he has Daniel (Mac)
MacCormick adjusting to civilian life. After serving two tours
in Afghanistan he has sought out a more peaceful lifestyle
in Key West Florida. He is now a charter boat captain of a
42 feet deep-sea fishing vessel, The Maine, which takes tourists
and fisherman on excursions. Having made a name for himself
and needing his military skills, three Cuban-Americans make
him an offer to have the Maine participate in a ten-day fishing
tournament to Cuba. But the real reason they need him is to
help find and return sixty million dollars left behind by
the refugees. The covert plan is to embed Mac and one of the
Cuban-Americans, Sara Ortega, into Cuba as part of an educational
tour under the auspices of Yale University. The action ratchets
up as Mac and Sara are on the run from the Cuban authorities
and need his first mate, gruff seventy-year-old Vietnam veteran,
Jack Colby, to help in the rescue.
Although not a John Corey novel fans will enjoy the new set
of characters created by DeMille. Throughout the years, the
male and female leads are smart, brave, self-confident, loyal,
smart-aleck, and the sarcastic banter between them is classic.
His one-liners are the perfect zingers to a conversation that
will make readers chuckle. For example, “you are an
officer and a gentleman by an act of Congress, but an a—hole
by choice,” or “why do you want to go to Cuba.
North Korea was sold out.”
The author commented, “Corey is not a kid anymore. Mac
is much younger. He is also an Afghanistan veteran while many
of the main characters in earlier books were Vietnam vets.
Mac is more educated and from a different class than Corey.
I did not want to create the same character; although in some
ways they have the same personality and dry wit. Another difference
is that John Corey lives in law enforcement while Mac lives
in the civilian world. John fought terrorists while Mac is
apolitical and more cautious.”
Readers of DeMille expect historical facts and details intertwined
within the story. In this book it is no different. Having
gone to Cuba himself as part of the Yale University-affiliated
educational tour he was able to get a personal eye view of
what Cuba is really like. He wants readers to be entertained,
but also to learn something, especially since many have forgotten
about the Castro Brothers’ actions.
He noted, “The system they created does not guarantee
property rights. The Cuban regime seized private property
and is saying they have no intention of returning Cuban citizens’
property, and we are not pushing them. Most of the people
who came to Miami when the Communists seized power left houses,
factories, and huge businesses. They want their property back,
and that’s going to be a big issue as normalization
moves forward. It is a repressive regime with a subjugated
population that isolates the people.”
The Cuban Affair is a gripping novel that has relatable and
likeable characters. As with all his novels, people will be
immersed in the setting, culture, and history. Hopefully this
will be the first in a series of books involving these characters
that will include plenty of action, political intrigue, romance
and dry wit.