Arte Publico Press, PB $17.95, 196 pages, ISBN 978-1-55885-8671
One of the most interesting new private investigators to come to the MBR’s attention is a Denver-based ex-convict named Gus Corral. He’s the creation of Manuel Ramos, a life-long resident of the Mile High City, as well as an acclaimed, award-winning author and astute observer of the changing nature of Colorado and its capitol city, Denver.
In his newest adventure, The Golden Havana Night, Gus is hired by a man named Joaquin “Kino” Machaco, a Cuban defector and the all-star center fielder for the Colorado Rockies baseball team. The job is simple. All Gus has to do, is deliver a bag of money to a Cuban gangster in Havana, which is intended to pay off the gambling debts of Kino’s brother, and then convince the man to leave the Machaco family alone . . . never accepting any more bets from the degenerate gambler and black sheep of the family. Oh yeah… and he also has to keep the gambling brother away from the cash long enough to make the money transfer. Gus dreams of an easy job and then a few days of rest and relaxation on a nice sunny beach, with a rum concoction in hand and some female company to help while away a pleasant afternoon or two. Nice dream. But like most dreams, it goes poof, almost as soon as Gus makes his way to the island dictatorship. That’s when the bullets start flying, the blood-letting begins, the bodies pile up and all kinds of old animosities reignite again. Then, Gus finds himself running for his life, just hoping to get off the island in one piece in this fast-paced and electrifying noir adventure. Read it for yourself and find out why Gus Corral is a Mysterious Book Report favorite.