A debut that introduces investigative journalist/Key West sailing bum Mad Mick Murphy and his bar-hopping cronies and takes them way out past their depth.
The Key West-to-Havana boat race is deep-sixed along with Tom Hunter, one of its organizers, who lies dying on the pier, gasping the word gusanos—Cubans in exile in Miami—to his pal Mick Murphy. Who would want to kill Tom? Maybe they were aiming for Mad Mick, whose checkered past included adventures so colorful and indiscreet that he had to be rescued several times by Norman the spook. Now Norman, along with local bartenders, concierges and Padre Thomas, a defrocked priest who talks to angels, plans to avenge Tom by identifying three mysterious Cubans who now seem to be after Mad Mick, operating for some reason under the protection of two Feds calling themselves Smith and Jones. It all involves a plot to liberate a pair of Cuban military higher-ups, then provoke a democratic takeover of the island. If the plot sounds outlandish, blame it on all the booze Mad Mick and his pals imbibe as they rescue a tortured lady, shoot it out with those Cubans and, in Mad Mick’s case, sail off Castro’s paradise to settle the score for poor Tom, although not to the complete satisfaction of the feds.
Preposterous pother. Even comic-book characters have more depth. Alas, a sequel is in the works.