Merrimon Book Reviews

Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista

Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro in his guerrila days

Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro, 1960

Distinctive profile of
a Sten gun

Cover of Fidel Castro Assassinated published in 1961
Original story published under pen name Duncan Lee in 1961

From Merrimon Book Reviews
Killing Castro
Killing Castro by Lawrence Block
by Lawrence Block

Power, Revenge and retribution: a look backwards at Castro in a rare thriller

Thirty-four years old and wanted for murder, Turner has a plan to get his life back on track. One job, one golden opportunity plus twenty thousand dollars promised and he's off to Brazil to put his past behind him and live the good life. Together, Turner sets off on a mission with four other men to assassinate Fidel Castro, each member with motivations all his own. Fenton has nothing to lose. Cancer will get him if Castro's men don't. Fueled by a sense of justice, Hines plans to revenge the death of his brother, a man who fought alongside Castro and then was executed. Garth is all muscle, a man whose lack of restraint might endanger the mission before it even gets started. Garrison has his own plan. If the others fail, he will finish the job from his window and then escape. As the assassination comes together, their various motivations and personalities mix to create tensions and for some of the members, recent encounters during the mission put a kink into their original motivations. Can these men hold it together long enough to accomplish their mission and can they survive?

Hard Case Crime's publication of KILLING CASTRO makes available for Lawrence Block enthusiasts a most exceedingly difficult work to obtain for fans who cannot afford the high price tag of the original edition, if one can even manage to find a copy of this rare work. Originally published as FIDEL CASTRO ASSASSINATED under the pen name Duncan Lee in 1961 by Monarch, a pseudonym never used before or afterwards, this new publication of KILLING CASTRO will allow fans a fuller insight into the totality of Lawrence Block's works. For culture and history enthusiasts, this thriller provides an intriguing look into the past. Published after the Bay of Pigs incident but before the Cuban Missile Crisis, the thriller KILLING CASTRO provides an intriguing insight into the attitudes and thoughts at the time. Original cover art by Sharif Tarabay accompanies this thriller, setting the tone from the sten gun to the younger portrait of Castro.

From the perspective of readers several decades later who are witnessing the end of Castro's regime rather than the ramp up to the height of his power, KILLING CASTRO is an intriguing document of cultural history now available to a wide range of readers. Italicized chapters provide a historical perspective on Castro. From law student dedicated to winning rights for the average man and overturning Batista's dictatorship by legal means to a leader who becomes more and more like the man he seeks to depose, the author gives a chilling portrait of the corruption of power and greed when a guerrilla warrior moves from the outsider to the one in power and revolutionary justice becomes the norm rather than law. Lawrence Block creates an intriguing echo between the motivations and changes in Castro and some of the men on a mission to assassinate him. The echo is not a simplistic parallel but rather, the author provides intriguing variations and outcomes depending on the characters involved. Although those who have read the entire Lawrence Block canon might not feel KILLING CASTRO measures up to his best and most known thrillers, certainly, this book is a must have addition to a Lawrence Block collection to treasure and an intriguing work to ponder in the context of the entire Lawrence Block canon. Hats off to Hard Case Crime for making this work available!

Publisher:  Hard Case Crime (January, 2009)
Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

Custom Search

Copyright Merrimon Crawford  2008  All Rights Reserved