Forge/Tom Doherty, $25.99, 318 pages, ISBN 978-0-7653-7485-1
Author David C. Taylor hit the literary ground running last year when his first crime-fiction novel entitled Night Life, featuring tough-guy Michael Cassidy was first published. Cassidy’s a classic, Phillip Marlowe kind of detective, working the mean streets of 1950s New York City at a time when the Cold War—with it’s potential threat of nuclear Armageddon—was at its zenith, and Senator Joseph McCarthy was building his power base.
Now, Taylor’s back with the second installment of his Michael Cassidy series, and he’s hit the sweet spot again, focusing this time on the ouster of Cuban dictator Fulgenico Batista by Fidel Castro. Night Work, opens on the cusp of Christmas day, 1959 when detective Michael Cassidy gets tasked with prisoner escort duty. He’s to pick up a Cuban triple murderer named Echivera at Rikers Island Jail and return him to the authorities in Havana. Nursing a bruised heart and pining for a Russian woman who disappeared, Cassidy applied for and has been granted leave time . . . planning to rest and relax in the warm tropical sun . . . maybe even do some gambling in one of the many mob-owned casinos. But, the easiest way to make God laugh is to make plans. Moments after he’s delivered into the hands of the Cuban authorities, Eschivera is dead, and Cassidy makes a discovery that changes his life and turns him into a wanted man . . . an outlaw on the run in the mountains of Cuba. Then comes New Years Eve, 1960—and as everyone who’s watched The Godfather, Part II knows, the rebels march into Havana, triumphant, and Batista flees the country—and everything changes again in another one of many stunning plot twists in this intricately detailed novel that combines fact and fancy so smoothly and seamlessly that it’s hard to tell at times, which is which. One thing for sure though. All those who read this fast and furious, atmospheric and one hundred percent noir novel will, like me, be Michael Cassidy fans for life! David C. Taylor’s already a star in the hard-boiled fiction universe . . . I look for him to be an even bigger and brighter one in the future!.