DESTINIES by Peter & Denne Bart Petitclerc Bart

DESTINIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In pursuit of a super-sized commercial whopper, the authors of this pseudohistorical concoction (revolving around the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba, 1961) have buried a strong kernel of a story in padding, overplotting, and gratuitous sleaziness. The strong kernel: Gustavo Carta, Cuban aristocrat and longtime non-Communist revolutionary, leads just one of many factions planning anti-Castro activity from exile in 1961 Miami; can the ruthless, out-of-control CIA bamboozle and sidetrack Carta and the other factions into a supposed unified plan, thus making it possible for the CIA's own rightwing invasion force to go it alone? And will Carta's bearded son Camilo--a worshipful Castro aide--really try to assassinate his own father and destroy his American-born mother for the sake of Communist Cuba? These are solid premises for action/suspense, but here they're swamped in: jerky flashbacks that fill in Carta family history; italicized chunks of pallid Cuban history since 1492; extraneous excursions into the private lives of the CIA manipulators; a confusing Mafia/Big Business subplot; and contrived excuses to inject a variety of sexual shenanigans--including a priest forced to share oral sex with a calf, electrical-sexual torture, anal sex, masturbation, and homosexuality. Superior craftsmen might have been able to smooth over all this arbitrariness, but Bart and Peticlerc settle for clumsy twists and ludicrous coincidences (the CIA agent's homosexual lover just happens also to be the lover of Carta's daughter-in-law); and the characters, though heaped with background detail, are strictly cardboard. Still, the basic thread eventually pulls tight--with the usual array of CIA megalomaniacs doing the pulling--and readers who dote on sheer bulk may be willing to follow that thread through the melodramatic Caribbean hodgepodge here.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Simon & Schuster