Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 429 pages, ISBN 978-1-5011-0172-4
Who doesn’t dream of sunny, warm days with an ample supply of cold drinks and an ocean to play in, when we’re up to our ear-muffs in icy roads, snow and sub-freezing temperatures, day, after day, after day . . . and if we can’t actually go there, we can at least escape in literature to the sun-soaked tip of Florida, down to swinging Key West, where The Cuban Affair, by MBR perennial favorite and master storyteller Nelson DeMille, kicks off at the Green Parrot Bar. That’s where a thirty-five year-old wounded Afghanistan war veteran, confirmed bachelor, and deep-sea charter fishing boat captain named Daniel Graham MacCormick—Mac for short—is drinking beer, watching the women, and waiting for a guy named Carlos to come down from Miami. Carlos is a Cuban ex-pat and lawyer who’s heavily involved with the anti-Castro movement in Miami. He may want to hire Mac and his boat, The Maine, for a few days. When he shows up, Carlos has in tow an older distinguished-looking Cuban gentleman named Eduardo, who’s treated with all the respect of a Cuban Godfather. The third, and last member of the entourage is an early-thirties hottie named Sara Ortega, another Cuban-American who’s involved in the movement to free Cuba from the communists. They want to hire Mac and his boat for a ten-day fishing tournament in Cuba, and use it for cover of a covert mission to recover sixty million dollars in cash that was hidden in a remote cave by Sara’s banker grandfather on the eve of the communist revolution. Mac refuses . . . until he hears the payoff . . . three million American dollars. For a guy with a quarter-million in bank loans, who’s struggling to make ends meet, it’s irresistible. He’s in. Mac and Sara will fly into Cuba as part of a Yale University tour group, while First Mate Jack Colby skippers The Maine down to the tournament. And so begins one of the most rollicking and timely caper novels to come along since the first Las Vegas casino heist. Written with the sure hand and light touch of an acknowledged master of the genre, reading The Cuban Affair is just about the most fun you can have—and still keep your clothes on— during these long cold, and dark days of winter!