Monday, April 09, 2012

Fidel Castro assassinated

Hard Case Crime has put out some very interesting reprints and obscurities. Lawrence Block's Killing Castro is probably of the latter kind. It's entertaining, but I'm not sure whether I could call it a forgotten classic. It's a story about five Americanos trying to kill Fidel Castro and trying to get 20,000 dollars as a reward. Some of them are professionals, some of them are idealists, some of them are just waiting around to die and trying to do something useful while dying.

Unlike another blogger said, I didn't find this tightly knit or narrated. It's more like a loose narrative, with just episodes following each other. Some of the episodes are more entertaining than others and Block creates some pretty good characters through dialogue and action. The fate of some of the characters was also entertaining and not something I anticipated.

In a weird narrative technique Block also interweaves the story with the history of real-life Castro and his rise to power. Without those parts the book would be one third shorter and I guess Block just typed them up to fill up the standard book-length. Block's view of Castro and Cuba before him seems pretty solid, though, and even if those bits irritated me, they provided some new information! 

The book is one of Block's rarest early pseudonymous efforts, published as "Lee Duncan" under the title Fidel Castro Assassinated. The publisher was Monarch, the year is 1961, and I think in this case the new cover is much better than the original! 


Todd Mason said...

In re covers...well, I guess that depends on what you like to look at...crazy right wing beauties can still be beauties, but they make me a little sad, at times.

Juri said...

Yeah, I hear you, Todd, and I should certainly relate to that as one who comes from the Leftist background, but I was merely thinking of the artistic merit, shall we say. The Monarch cover is pretty clumsy and the photo of Fidel isn't very good.

Juri said...

The original Lee Duncan title gives away the ending, by the way. No wonder Charles Ardai wanted to keep that in secret! :)