book cover of Havana Libre

Havana Libre

(The second book in the Cuban Noir Novels series)
A novel by

In this “exquisitely made thriller” by the author of Havana Lunar, a Cuban doctor is caught up in a web of espionage and international crime (Booklist).
During the summer of 1997, a series of bombings terrorize Havana hotels. The targets are tourists, and the terrorists are exiles seeking to cripple Cuban tourism and kill the revolution. After Dr. Mano Rodriguez finds himself helpless to save one of the victims, his nemesis Colonel Emilio Pérez of the National Revolutionary Police recruits him into Havana’s top-secret Wasp Network of spies for an undercover job in the most dangerous city in Latin America: Miami . . .
“Action [and] rich landscapes of daily life in Cuba during the special period, including blackouts, food shortages, the intricacies of conversation under an authoritarian government, and the craftiness of locals who offer guided tours to tourists for money—all details from over a decade of Arellano’s journals from his trips in the ‘90s.” —Miami New Times
“A remarkably powerful narrative. The interrogation scene repulses while it grips . . . but readers are advised to stay with it for a rich reading experience.” —Booklist, starred review
“Arellano’s world of clinic doctors, hotel hustlers, secret police, and neighborhood spies is as rich and vibrant a place as I’ve come across in fiction in a long while. His style has something of Bolaño’s cynical, madcap energy, but with Graham Greene’s eye for the small absurdities in life, the same absurdities that, under the right (or wrong) circumstances, spin out into an international catastrophe.” —Literary Hub

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"In 1997, a series of bombs rocked Havana--a city already deep in an economic and spiritual depression. In Havana Libre, the anxiety of the time is palpable. Robert Arellano gives us a detailed and precise portrait of one of the most surreal places on earth. A mystery with alluring twists and turns, Havana Libre also poses a deeper question: how does one contend with the anguish of loving a place that can never, ever love you back? Compelling and restrained, this is Arellano's best to date." - Achy Obejas

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