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Havana Requiem: A Legal Thriller Hardcover – May 8, 2012

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


I love this book. Fascinating, Byzantine, and completely unpredictable, Havana Requiem puts Paul Goldstein squarely in the first rank of not only legal thriller writers but all thriller writers. The portrait of post-Fidel Cuba and the sweltering inequities of Havana is unforgettable. (Timothy Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong)

A Patent Lie . . . trumps John Grisham's work in every way--character, setting, plot and the prose--and gives readers interested in the drama of a high-value legal case a great reward for their attention. (Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered on A Patent Lie)

[Errors and Omissions] displays the keen eye and sure hand of a gifted writer . . . Memorable. (Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal on Errors and Omissions)

About the Author

Paul Goldstein is regularly included in Best Lawyers in America and is the author of two previous Michael Seeley novels.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809053934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809053933
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Breaking through dense layers of legal arguments and behind-the-scenes political manuvering, Goldstein brings the city of Havana to life through its music, the subtle blend of passion and struggle that inspires its unique sound. Recently rehired by his New York law firm, Michael Seeley is approached by an elderly Cuban composer, Hector Reynoso, who wants to sue for ownership of his music- and that of other Cuban composers- rights that were sold to music publishers over fifty years ago for a nominal fee. Seeley is known at the firm for his representation of artists and musicians rights, but with a new focus on clients with multi-national interests, the partners only reluctantly agree to allow Seeley to represent the Cuban composers; even then, some partners attempt to manipulate Mike's accounts to legally constrict his ability to act on the Cubans' behalf.

When Reynoso disappears, Seeley travels to Havana in search of his client, armed with agreements for the other composers to sign. In Cuba, he meets a different set of problems, predominantly political ones, but his guide, the beautiful Amaryll Cruz, introduces Seeley to Hector's wonderful compositions, the melodies that express the Cuban spirit, Havana filled with danger, threat, the watchful eyes of secret police and intimidation of the State Department through an agent. But everything pales against the spirited music born of a culture steeped in the island's long history of resistance to political domination. Seeley falls in love with the city and its people, and with Amaryll in a romance blazing with heat but doomed by circumstances.

The contrast between the overtly political Havana and New York, where betrayal is more subtle and often disguised by layers of compromise, is extraordinary.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn Getchell TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was the title of this novel that first caught my attention and drew me to it, a title suggesting hot, humid and passionate Cuba and the music for the repose of the dead.

Havana Requiem: A Legal Thriller is perhaps the best legal thriller I have ever read. Not only that, it is prose I respect and prize - prose of deceptive simplicity which kept me enthralled to every single page. It is stunning language unadorned but evocative, straightforward but eloquent.

This is a novel that truly excited me. Cuba, her people, her history and her culture have always been of great interest to me and are subjects I try to explore in literature whenever I can. Paul Goldstein has written a novel that boldly delivers all of that - with a power and intensity distilled from the very passion of the Cuban artists he represents in this unrelenting story of suspense.

I also have a deep appreciation of Afro-Cuban jazz and this novel pulsates so much with it, you can practically hear it playing in the background. Cuban music is fusion of art and spirit and I first became acquainted with it through the music of the Buena Vista Social Club who are referred to frequently throughout the story. Much to my delight, the composers from Cuba's golden age of music, that soulful music with its roots in Africa, are at the passionate heart of HAVANA REQUIEM. "This is music that makes people dream" and that dream is...racial justice in Cuba for the Black Cuban.

This highly charged novel is truly electrifying, full of brilliant heat and dark suspense which melt into each other to effect a dynamic reading experience of "Property. Politics. Greed. Fear. But mostly fear.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alma Robinson on July 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The twisted vineyard of copyright termination provides the legal terrain for Paul Goldstein's thriller, Havana Requiem. Overlaid with the opaque veil of Cuban-American politics, the story of lawyer Michael Seeley's determined quest to retrieve copyrights for a group of renowned Cuban musicians provides enough verisimilitude to carry the intrigue through to the last chapter.

Goldstein, who teaches intellectual property at Stanford Law School, handles the legal issues of copyright termination with a deft touch--just enough to let you understand the legal urgency without overwhelming you with the technical details.

As director of California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA), I naturally identified with Seeley's determination to fight for the underdog Cuban artists who are being abused in the marketplace of music licensing. Indeed Seeley, who participates in Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (our "sister organization" in New York), fights with his hard driving law firm partners to provide pro bono legal service to low-income clients.

In order to sign up his clients, Seeley ends up in Havana, where he becomes an action hero as well as the romantic lead. And then the story really starts to brew, populated with characters whose motives aren't revealed until the very end.

Having just returned from CLA's first educational excursion to Cuba, I enjoyed touring Havana again with Michael Seeley, revisiting the Hotel Nacional, the Malecon and other historic landmarks.

A great read for lawyers, musicians and normal people.

Alma Robinson, California Lawyers for the Arts
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