Nothing is off limits when it comes to my shelves, but “military thrillers” aren’t really on my radar. As such, it’s not really surprising I’ve never read Nelson DeMille before. A library book sale, a bright cover, and a husband who likes thrillers brought The Cuban Affair into my home.
As with all thrillers of this sort, Daniel “Mac” MacCormick is a veteran. He is brave and confident, easy on the eyes, with a quick wit that makes this a quick, exciting jaunt of a read. Mac is a charter boat captain in Key West, finding a freedom in that life that is well-deserved. He names his boat The Maine, after his home, but many think he’s named her for the USS Maine, which sank in the Havana Harbor in 1898.
Set in 2015, the novel focuses on the start of the Cuban thaw – as relationships begin to improve between the US and Cuba. As part of that “thaw,” a fishing tournament is organized – Pescanado Por la Paz — Fishing for Peace. The tournament provides the perfect cover for a covert mission to retrieve steamer trunks of money and documents belonging to those who had been forced to flee so many decades ago.
Mac can say no to neither a pretty girl nor adventure, so he accepts Sara Ortega’s offer. If all goes well, he’ll walk away with 3 million and likely a few sweaty, hot naked moments in Havana. He could also be killed, but he lives with the “we’re all on borrowed time” mentality.
The Cuban Affair is a thriller so much of the beauty of Cuba doesn’t make its way to the pages. But there’s plenty of sweat, guns, treasure, and Cuba Libres to keep you turning the pages.