Book Review – The Cuban Affair

by Nelson DeMille

Average rating (all reviews) :


Book Review by Joni Dee

A Predictable Yet Enjoyable New DeMille

I’m having a hard time deciding whether I liked “The Cuban Affair” more than I was disappointed by it. On one hand, it’s a brand-new Nelson DeMille, an author I grew up reading his novels, and full of action. Moreover, its free from the over-exhausted John Corey (thanks g-d!); On the other hand, it’s cliché-stricken, and unsophisticated.

Daniel MacCormick, Mac, is a veteran US Army officer, who nearly lost his life in Afghanistan, now running his own charter boat and wasting his life away in Key-West. He is approached by the lovely Sara Ortega, along with her compatriots, a Cuban-American bunch, who are asking him to lead a mission to retrieve Sara’s grandfather long lost bank money (60 mil dollars – aren’t the notes old and revoked??) along with deeds to communist-confiscated Cuban property. All this is set to take place while his first mate, Jack (another veteran only from Vietnam), is to wait for them at sea with their boat, symbolically named the Maine. The Maine has been chartered to participate in a “Fish for Peace” tournament which takes place in light of the warmer US-Cuba relations, labelled “the Cuban Thaw”.

So just like it sounds, this is a typical head-on mission, in a head-on combustive situation. Mac is a regular “no-bullshit” DeMille protagonist. They all drink all the time, and we in for a treat, 80s/90s at their best (only set in 2017).

I can’t say I didn’t enjoy “The Cuban Affair”. It’s “what you see is what you get” adventure novel. No sophistications and no innovations. You like Mac, you root for him, you hate the Cuban guide/chivito (informant) and you laugh from Richard Neville, the DeMille-like author (also with a pretty younger wife) who joins the group in Cuba, probably like DeMille and his wife did a couple of years ago (I saw the photos on his website, not a stalker!)

But the first few chapters of “The Cuban Affair” really had me expecting more – maybe something that will live up to “By the Rivers of Babylon” or “Charm School” which were DeMille’s golden novels. The more “The Cuban Affair” dragged-on, the more it became predictable, with a predictable action scene at the end a predictable conclusion. Issues that surfaced during the novel were tied loosely and a few (microscopical) plot-holes were recognisable.

I enjoyed the novel, but I set myself up for more. I’d recommend it only if (like me) you are a Nelson DeMille fan. ***½