Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review: Lawrence Block, Killing Castro (1961)

This book is a strange hybrid. In the main, it is the story of five men hired to assassinate Fidel Castro for a pot of $100,000. It does not matter who kills Castro or how; if Castro is killed, whichever of the assassins make it back to Miami will split the money. Their story is intercut with a narrative of Fidel Castro's rise to power, though this primer of Cuban history is more or less irrelevant to the main plot of the book--Castro's story contributes to the word count more than anything else. The book's biggest failing, however, comes in its last few pages. Until the end, the story of the five assassins is told with competence. At the end, however, Lawrence Block makes a choice in narrative perspective that seems designed to dampen the drama of the novel's climax as much as possible. Originally published as Fidel Castro Assassinated by Lee Duncan. Grade: C-

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