From the very first page, it’s like being back with an old friend. The familiarity that one feels reading another Alex Cohen book, the next in the series, settles on you like a warm, comforting blanket on a chilly evening! Alex and his crew however are a whole different story! I wouldn’t get too comfortable with them!
This time around Alex and his old friend Meyer Lansky are aiming at doing business in Cuba. The object is to re-create what they achieved in Las Vegas: to build a successful, sparkling, gambling oasis where people (mainly Americans) can come and part with their cash. This said cash would them go into the pockets of the mafia and the Cuban government. That’s where the difficulty comes in, because tough negotiations need to be held with General Batista, who has recently staged a successful coup to re-gain power in Cuba. And he wants what he wants.
Although Alex and Meyer work closely and come across as partners in their dealings with others, it’s clear to the reader that much to his chagrin, Alex still works for Meyer, rather than for him. This is something that irks him greatly. And while Meyer sets up shop full-time in Havana, Alex prefers to spend more time back in the States where he’s able to go about his business more independently. So he only returns to Havana a couple of times a month, leaving his wife Sarah (who he’s now re-united with) who’s Meyer’s trusted assistant to hold the fort there. It was great to see how their relationship had matured to the extent that they’re now able to spend so much time apart but no longer have the trust issues that prevailed in previous years.
The other relationships that grow and mature in this book are the ones that Alex has with his children. So much so that some even venture into business with him, under Alex’s strict conditions that their dealings remain strictly legal and above board. He will not allow any of his children to touch any of his business matters that fall on the ‘other’ side of the law.
As political events in Cuba begin to get heated and it becomes evident that Fidel Castro will now be the one taking control, Americans and their ‘big business’ are no longer wanted or needed and things become very difficult for those who had dealings with the previous government. Meyer and Alex need to make some hasty decisions. There’s a lot of money in the balance and they stand to lose a lot. What will they do?
In his usual easy style, Borstinski mixes fact with fiction, reality with imagination, and smatterings of Yiddish in a narrative that’s engaging and fast-moving. Alex Cohen remains the lovable rogue, despite his brutal and ruthless streak that still remains, albeit in a somewhat more subdued form. He’s definitely more thoughtful about his actions, and is ever protective of his family, who are not as estranged as they once were. Biding his time with his children is starting to pay off and they are drawing closer to him. With his age has come maturity, understanding and responsibility but Alex will always feel the need to prove himself and will never fully lose that sense of being the outsider.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Alex gets up to in the next instalment of this engaging saga. Although each book in this series could be read as a standalone, I do recommend that you read them in order. The series makes for compelling reading and you’ll be able to see how far Alex has come from young, feisty immigrant to mature, man-about-town mafioso.
This is a 4-star read. Thank you to Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for inviting me along on yet another enjoyable Alex Cohen rollercoaster ride! Take a look at what other bloggers are saying about Cuban Heel …
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often. He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski @borstinski
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2PLrtt2
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3dkwzEp
Leopold Borstinski’s website: https://www.leopoldborstinski.com/books/cuban-heel/