An ex–CIA agent is called into pre-Castro Cuba to discover whether a current agent has gone rogue.
Disillusioned with what the agency has become, George Mueller has given up spycraft for academia, his only connection with his old job being a couple of pulp paperbacks he's written. An agency muckety-muck approaches Mueller to go to Cuba, where the dictator Batista is barely holding on to power, and, under the guise of writing a travel article, to find out whether Mueller's old colleague Toby Graham is funneling arms to Fidel Castro's rebels. The mix is pretty much what the depressive school of espionage writing has accustomed us to: friendly acquaintances who aren't really friends; former loves who are the cause of stoic regret; wealthy foreigners oblivious to the brutality that lets them enjoy their luxury; a sense of having to gauge every private and public statement because of who might be watching. And it doesn't help that the book is rather too obviously modeled on The Great Gatsby. The British can make these elements into the stuff of genuine soul-searching. American writers—the ones who write about Americans and not Europeans—tend to turn out what you might get if Don Draper had settled down with a Graham Greene novel while listening to Sinatra and feeling sorry for himself.
This may be Cuba, but the spirits aren't exactly libre.