Review

Cuba: A Jake Grafton Novel

by Stephen Coonts



Stephen Coonts may be a relatively new and/or unfamiliar name to
you. Not that he has been laboring in obscurity or anything. He has
had several New York Times bestsellers in the military adventure
genre featuring Jake Grafton, a rear admiral who has worked his way
up the naval ladder. If you don't know about Coonts, or haven't
read anything by him recently, CUBA is your opportunity to get
aquainted.

CUBA finds Jake Grafton assigned to a top secret project at
Guantanamo Bay, the last American toehold in Cuba. His assignment:
to oversee the safe transport of cargo that is not supposed to
exist out of Gitmo. The cargo? Chemical and biological weapons. As
in the real world, however, events do not take place in a static
environment. In CUBA, Fidel Castro is on his deathbed. Predictably,
there is an incredible amount of jockeying for positions among his
successors. Alejo Vargas, Castro's Interior minister, appears to
lead the field. He is the classic dictator --- one can almost hear
the boos and hisses every time he appears --- but he is not without
rivals. Hector Sedano, a radical priest, is also in the running. An
additional element runs underneath all of the intrigue as well:
CUBA has a biological weapons cache of its own. And it has loaded
it atop missiles aimed at the good ol' U.S. What will happen when
Castro dies? Whose finger will be on the trigger? And if the button
is pushed, can the U.S. stop the potential disaster?

Coonts keeps several balls in the air in CUBA and never lets one
drop. While he demonstrates a thorough knowledge of military
technology, he keeps the technical descriptions to a minimum and
never lets the hardware get in the way of his narrative. He also
wisely keeps the focus shifting among several characters, all of
whom are quite intriguing in their own way. Tommy Carmellini, a
master thief recruited by the CIA, almost steals the show.
Hopefully, we will see more of him in the future. And if CUBA is
any indication, we will be seeing more of Stephen Coonts and Jake
Grafton.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 21, 2011

Cuba: A Jake Grafton Novel
by Stephen Coonts

  • Publication Date: May 15, 2000
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 461 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0312971397
  • ISBN-13: 9780312971397