Review

Cuba Strait

by Carsten Stroud



If Carsten Stroud had hopes of catapulting his books into the ranks
of the big guys, CUBA STRAIT will undoubtedly be the novel to take
him there. With coast-to-coast action, a wisecracking ex-cop, a
beautiful French girlfriend and even a dog-slapping kitty, all the
ingredients are here. Add to that mixture a covert ops pilot,
several FBI types and some Hollywood bigwigs --- and the plot
thickens. Then toss in a story that twists and turns more than the
Gulf Stream and the result is a riveting tale more engrossing than
even his BLACK WATER TRANSIT and SNIPER'S MOON, currently in the
process of development into blockbuster movies. It definitely has
something for everybody: murder, mystery, politics, romance, chase
scenes galore, technical gadgets and lots and lots of
thrills.

The opening pages of CUBA STRAIT launch us into the action
immediately, with charter pilot Charlie Green taking off in the
advancing dusk of an impending storm, carrying a load he knows to
be dangerously heavy.

The next chapter cuts to Rick Broca, retired from the New York
State Police at the tender age of 33 due to a misunderstanding with
superiors about how to handle a school shooting. He is facing the
same storm as Green, along with his shipboard cat Cisco --- only
he's battling the rollers, not the roiling clouds. Inevitably, the
two paths cross. The plane goes down and Broca heroically comes to
the rescue, setting in motion a series of events that lead to an
international crisis between the United States and Cuba. Some very
serious and unsavory thugs from Havana dog Broca while he attempts
to figure out what they want and why. He suspects Green is hiding
something from him, probably something deadly important. When
agents of several of the more secretive governmental departments
politely but forcefully request he come in for an interview, Broca
becomes convinced that there's more going on than he initially
guessed. A natural skeptic, he has a harder time than usual knowing
who to trust --- and so will you.

If Stroud has done his research well and knows of what he speaks,
our neighbor to the south doesn't fare well in the race to the top
of the list of friendly nations. Cuba sharpens into a bona fide
threat and the criminals who run out of there come across as
soberly bad guys.

The author's colorful background undeniably adds beef to his
writing. His varied past --- salvage diving in Mexico, time in the
military, undercover duty, journalist --- gives his characters a
realism that's hard to make up, helping them sound knowledgeable
and expert. At the same time, the dialogue is so witty, with snappy
comebacks even in the face of certain death, that it provides
welcome respite from the heart-racing chase scenes and relentless
tension. Be sure to have a block of time set aside for this
high-anxiety thriller because, once begun, putting it down is quite
frankly impossible.

NOTE: Strong language, blood and guts, minimal sex.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 21, 2011

Cuba Strait
by Carsten Stroud

  • Publication Date: November 30, -0001
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 0743243897
  • ISBN-13: 9780743243896