Meet the man with the voodoo eyes: Solomon Boukman. He'd used voodoo, black magic, and extreme violence to control his people, and to keep anyone who ever heard his name in a state of fear. He'd zombified his enemies with potions and hypnosis and used them as his very own suicide killers. Some said he was the earthly incarnation of Baron Samedi, the voodoo god of death; others said he was The Devil incarnate...Meet his nemesis: For private eye Max Mingus, Boukman has been the cause of unthinkable personal tragedy and professional torment. And when he uncovers a labyrinthine web of death and deceit stretching from the Miami jet set to sinister Cuban slums, the voodoo eyes of Boukman are never far from his mind. But how can Mingus stop him without losing his life, and the lives of those he loves? Meet a thriller that will haunt your dreams.
©2011 Nick Stone (P)2011 Hachette Digital
I've seen this book criticised for the clunkiness with which the crime story comes to an end and the fact that a not very prominent character from the novel ends up playing a prominent role (I am trying not to spoil things here). And that'd a criticism that is fairly made by people who are plot addicts, I can see the disappointment.
However, I loved this book because of the backdrop to the crime story which is really original. Unravelling the history of the Black Panthers in Cuba (some of which is presumably based on Assata Shakur) and then spinning a yarn from it works for me. There is some really well researched historical knowledge that forms the foundation of this book and although the characters like the female government agent and the transvestite are sometimes a bit caricature they are also much more original than other writers' creations: they are deceitful, driven by self interest, they develop (a bit) over time and they have a strong sense of humour and (self-) irony without being stupid.
It feels as if Stone has travelled extensively in Cuba, has been ripped off and fallen for a good story that is sold to us with a touch of Cuban magic (haven't we all ...). Wether he refers to the infamous Mariel boat lift and the fact that Castro helped all his prisoners "escape" to the USA or whether he explores the role of the secret Abakwa society which operates in the underground, this book oozes Cuba.
If anything this is my main criticism. Sometimes less would have been more and at times Stone is laying it on a bit too thick. In particular the ending was much more bombastic than I needed it to be.
All that said, however, I really enjoyed this and if anyone is looking for a crime story to delve into the reality of another country or needs a page turner when travelling Cuba (where I read this) - I do recommend and as always Jeff Harding is one of my favourite narrators!
P.S. Ignore the inappropriate title - maybe that was a publisher's attempt to cash in on the succss of Stone's previous stories
may be a different narrator could make is a notch more interesting, but still I doubt
It's desperately dull. But the worst part is narration. Why all this accentuation at the last syllable of every phrase? I had to give up and will erase it from my memory without regret (though I still regret I spent a credit on it).
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