- Tapa blanda: 386 páginas
- Editor: Zondervan (29 de junio de 2011)
- Colección: The Cuban Trilogy
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0310324548
- ISBN-13: 978-0310324546
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
Hostage in Havana: Three Complete Novels (The Cuban Trilogy) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 29 jun 2011
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Descripción del producto
Reseña del editor
When Alexandra LaDuca illegally enters Cuba on the trail of an unsolved mystery, she gets more than she imagined. The stakes? Her life ... plus a decades-old mystery to be solved, a pile of cash, and an unlikely defector. Espionage and unexpected romance smolder together in this exciting thriller set in Cuba's isolated capital.
Biografía del autor
Noel Hynd has sold more than four million copies of his books throughout the world, including The Enemy Within and Flowers From Berlin. His most recent novel, Hostage in Havana, is the first book in the Cuban Trilogy starring Alexandria LaDuca. Hynd lives in Culver City, California.
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This book takes place partly in Cuba, (obviously.) I wonder if Mr. Hynd had the opportunity to visit, or if he just spoke with those who had. I know a couple of recently emigrated Cubans and it all sounded pretty authentic to me, both in terms of the look of Havana and the issues with their society. That part of the story alone was fascinating.
I do love the character of Alex. She's refreshing to me for lots of reasons. She is a young woman who can kick ass when necessary. She struggles with tragedy but stays positive through her faith and inner strength. She's not the least bit cynical or jaded. This may be one reason I like this author's work: realism with a touch of optimism :)
Some typos/mistakes with the Spanish that is interspersed, but that may be inevitable with a first edition.
Keep writing, Noel... I'm sitting here waiting for the next one!
John le Carre (David Cornwell) served in the British intelligence service before writing his seminal postwar spy novels The Spy Who Came In from the Cold and Smiley's People (to just cite his early work).
Research and experience give the novels of Forsyth and le Carre a great deal of depth and plausibility. Apparently this kind of research and depth is becoming increasingly rare. Noel Hynd's novel Hostage in Havana seem to be devoid of research, experience or even common sense in some cases.
The most egregious and obvious error is that the central character in the novel, Alex LaDuca is a gun toting agent of the US Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Apparently Mr. Hynd did not take the trouble to look at the US Department of Treasury FinCEN web site which states (under "What We Do"):
FinCEN carries out its mission by receiving and maintaining financial transactions data; analyzing and disseminating that data for law enforcement purposes; and building global cooperation with counterpart organizations in other countries and with international bodies.
Anyone who has done half an hour of research would discover that FinCEN is a research department. FinCEN people are not armed with guns, but with computers. If they find evidence of crimes they turn the evidence over to other law enforcement groups like the FBI or the Secret Service.
Nor, by the way, does Ms. LaDuca work for some secret undisclosed branch of FinCEN. Or not one mentioned in the novel, at least.
This is such a howling error and it occurs so early in the book that I could not get past it. If Alex LaDuca worked for some fictional super secret shadow organization then it would be easier to suspend disbelief. But she works for an organization that actually exists and has an pretty informative web page.
Although Alex La Duca manages to track down an evil money laundering couple, there is no real discussion of how money is actually laundered. We don't for example, learn of the sort of offshore accounts that Mitt Romney has made famous. Nor about how hard it might be to track money flowing through such accounts. This is, again, something that basic research would have uncovered.
Then there's the issue of common sense. A criminal figure from a previous book leaves Alex two million dollars when he dies. She tells her boss about this, but all he says is "well, its OK if there were no strings attached". Sure, a Federal employee is left two million dollars by a questionable person with ties to other questionable people. The first thing that would happen is that the Federal employee would be suspended or at least pushed off their cases. Then they would be investigated by the FBI. Certainly this would be the end of their career since there is no way to escape the appearance of something questionable. This too was such a howling error that I could not get past it. Anyone with common sense should understand that if you work for the government, appearance is important, even if there are (somewhat innocent) explanations.
Nor does Hostage in Havana show any evidence of the author having read any recent biographies of CIA agents who have served in the field. One common theme that runs through these accounts is that the CIA can be a risk averse bureaucracy. The days of the cowboys during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations are largely over. Sending someone undercover to Cuba would be a big deal since the first thing that would go through the mind of the person in charge is what would happen if things went wrong. An intelligence disaster would end their career. The feeling for the intelligence bureaucracy is one area where le Carre excels and Hynd entirely fails. When Alex is sent undercover to Cuba (Hostage in Havana pretty much hints at this so I don't think that I'm giving anything away) its a sort of last minute thing. "Well, you need to get out of town anyway, so, ah, yeah, why don't you go to Cuba".
Apparently Alex is a character in other Hynd novels. There are frequent references to her fiance Robert who was killed in Eastern Europe. Alex is a sort of virginal character. Her religious belief is mentioned in various places as Alex wonders what God has planned for her. Her memories of Robert don't, for example, include memories of his hands on her body (for all I know, she's a thirty year old virgin).
If you can get past the "know nothing" plot, Hynd can be a decent writer. He can be good at painting a picture of the places his characters visit. The picture of Havana seems to fit what I've read about it. The characters have at least some depth. So while both Clive Cussler and Noel Hynd write almost fact free novels, Hynd is still a better writer than Cussler. An admittedly back hand complement.
I should mention in closing that the only reason that I read Hostage in Havana was that I signed up to do an Amazon Vine review of Murder in Miami, the second book in the "Cuban Trilogy". I wanted to do a good review, so I read Hostage in Havana. At this point I can only hope that Murder in Miami will be a better book.
My advice to Mr. Hynd is to start doing his homework when he writes future books. Writers like Fredrick Forsyth have research assistants. Even a few hours of research would have improved this book by removing the egregious howlers that make the suspension of disbelief extremely difficult.
Alex has been a likable character, but she was boring in this book. The plot was far beyond believable, the action wasn't wonderfully fleshed out, the emotional turmoil between some of the characters seemed contrived, and minor characters were dealt with either far too briefly or too in-depth. Religion seems to be a theme in these books, and while I do prefer my books to be without Christian attitudes, it was jarring in this book to see faith being written in almost as an afterthought. It seemed to have little to do with the plot, and Alex's troubles would have been just as legitimate and believable if God didn't factor into her state of mind.
With that said, this wasn't a terrible read. I didn't feel the need to stay up late to finish this book, but it was good enough that I will look forward to the next installment. There are enough cliffhangers and open questions to make the trilogy worthwhile so far. However, if the next book continues in the same dull, uninspired vein, I will probably not be as eager to pick the third one up.