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Havana Run: A John Deal Novel Hardcover – May 12, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (May 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399150595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399150593
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,805,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This rock-solid novel, number eight in Standiford's line of South Florida crime capers (Deal on Ice; Raw Deal; etc.) is as blunt and powerful as a punch to the head from series hero John Deal himself. Deal is rebuilding the failed Miami construction firm he inherited from his father, dead by suicide. Soon after moving to Key West to oversee a major construction contract, Deal is approached by Antonio Fuentes, a mysterious businessman, who attempts to hire him to oversee a huge rebuilding project in Havana, slated to begin once Castro has departed the scene. Deal has his suspicions, especially after Fuentes offers a check for a million dollars as a retainer. Next to make Deal an offer is Norbert Vines, special agent from the Department of Justice. Vine convinces Deal to go along with Fuentes and report back to the department on what the businessman and his shadowy partners are really up to in Cuba. A few hours later, Deal is on Fuentes's lavish yacht, headed into Cuban waters. Once there, everything goes to hell in short order as it turns out that (surprise!) Fuentes hasn't been entirely on the level. Unsure who is friend and who foe, Deal is blindsided by a bombshell plot twist that will have readers flipping wildly back to the front of the book to see how Standiford pulled it off. From here on in, the action is searing and nonstop, blazing ahead to a satisfyingly violent conclusion.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Standiford's John Deal series, starring the South Florida building contractor, derives much of its tension from a common genre theme: the call from the grave. Typically, the "call" prompts an investigation into a long-buried secret. With Deal, however, the phone just keeps ringing, and the caller is always his dad, the legendary builder Barton Deal, whose suicide exposed a lifetime of shady dealings with the Mob. John has been living with his father's tarnished reputation for years, struggling to rebuild the business Dad left in shambles. This time the call comes from Cuba, but the message is hidden, at least at first. Approached by a supposedly reputable businessman planning for the post-Castro era, Deal is tempted by prospects of an enormous contract to restore Havana's faded but still grand buildings. Agreeing to an "ex-officio" trip to Cuba to explore the possibilities, Deal learns quickly that he's been lured to the island for another reason, one that may involve his father. Standiford does a superb job of setting up his complex plot, using the color-drenched, ever-threatening Havana landscape both to ratchet up the tension and to emphasize the otherworldly nature of this latest and most baffling call from the grave. (See the Read-alikes column, opposite, for other examples of Cuban noir.) Among his fellow Floridian crime writers, Standiford is most similar to Randy Wayne White in his ability to combine straight-ahead adventure with subtle character development. The realistic wing of the Florida crime novel gets less attention than the comic (Leonard) and surreal (Hiaasen) branches, but it is every bit as deserving of our attention. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on July 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The latest in the series featuring John Deal finds him in Key West, Florida overseeing a construction project. Picking up where "Bone Key" left off, the project is moving forward and things are going so well, John has opened a satellite office in the area and is occasionally commuting to the home office in Miami. If it weren't for Isabella, his daughter who lives with his estranged wife Janice, he would ditch Miami and move to the Keys.
Then the rich Mr. Fuentes arrives in his small non-descript office in Key West. Mr. Fuentes has a proposition for John Deal. The days of Castro are numbered and the rebuilding of Cuba, especially the historical landmarks in Havana, will soon be underway. Mr. Fuentes wants John to follow his deceased father's footsteps back to Cuba and consult on the rebuilding. Mr. Fuentes brushes aside current political concerns and believes that once Castro departs this mortal coil, a tidal wave of money, especially American money, will wash over the island. John Deal would not only get a consulting fee now for making the trip and considering what needs to be done, he would stand to make a fortune once the actual work began underway. This could be the final break he needs to once again bring the construction company his father created, DealCO, all the way back to its preeminent status.
John Deal agrees to consider the scope of the work and soon arrives in Havana, Cuba aboard Mr. Fuentes opulent yacht. Like the crumbling structures that hide the past beauty of the city, the real reason Mr. Fuentes brought him to Cuba lies hidden beneath the surface. Slowly, it becomes apparent as John finds himself the target of gun wielding thugs and the center of a political mess in Cuba and at home.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on August 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Since his father's suicide and manufactured evidence of his corruption, John Deal has been forced off the police force and struggled to recover his father's once-thriving construction business from the financial problems his father's death had created. When wealthy hispanic businessman Fuentes offers Deal a million dollars as a retainer and invites him to Havana, Deal initially resists. He doesn't believe in things being too good to be true--he can't afford the hidden costs. But when the government asks him to cooperate with Fuentes, he agrees to play along.
Once in Havana, life becomes complicated. In addition to the government, at least two groups seem to want Deal's cooperation. An adventure of chases through the jungle, into Ernest Hemmingway's old boat, and through the streets of Havana ensues. What Deal learns is that there are secrets within secrets and tha everything he had believed is a fabrication.
Author Les Standiford offers a well written and interesting adventure story. Despite the implausibility of much of the story, Standiford's adventure-telling draws the reader in. Deal is largely unsympathetic and emotionally uncompelling as his cynical nature refuses to let him believe anyone (probably wise since everyone has been lying to him). HAVANA RUN does raise a number of important questions--the role of the mob in post-Castro Cuba, the trigger-happy nature of both the Cuban and American militaries, and whether the U.S.'s current restrictions on contact with Cuba truly serve anyone's interest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Somehow I just picked this novel up last month. Do you read every Florida Keys Mystery/Action you can get? I do and I have a scale of favorites. Corcoran, Hall, and White in that order plus a few lesser lights. Of course in the well known writers' works the standard wicked crew, developers, pols and tee shirt moguls plus the mob have become a bit too wearing on the beleagured "conchs." Thus it is a pleasure to read the adventures of John Deal and his Dealco development corporation, dedicated to making a buck but not vast sums of bucks by doing condos right. (If there is any way to do them right.)
In Bone Key, Deal and sidekick fell into the Key West scene as potential developers of a "martello" tower centered resort. His inherited and endangered development corporation was just recovering from the suicide of his less environmentally dedicated father's suspicious "dealings."(Yep, puns appear now and then.) This novel continues the tale and expands upon it, bringing into the picture his father's early ties to Cuba and plans for post CAstro development.
Who these developers may be (off shore banks and all) their ties to on island dissidents and off island exiles and the U.S. Government's desires to snoop on everyone (gives new meaning to the U.S. Interest Section) is the heart of this book. Given current state of boat traffic between the Keys and Cuba,rumors, speculation over future development in Cuba and the general murkiness of ownership of those luxury villas popping up along island edges, there's more than a bit of reality here.
Then too, it's kind of fun to see a hero developer. Talk to anyone in the Keys and they will tell you that's kind of like the tooth fairy. It would be nice.
Finally, this novel reads a bit faster than Bone Key.
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