After Havana seizes the fishing boat of four Americans in Cuban waters and holds them captive, the U.S. State Department sends its ace crisis strategist Judd Ryker to the island on a mission that grows more and more mysterious.
Even in the wake of a historic thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Havana remains a thorn in Washington's side. In the aftermath of the boating incident, Florida Congresswoman Brenda Adelman-Zamora, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, calls for the U.S. to suspend diplomatic ties with Cuba and reimpose sanctions. The CIA's unnamed Deputy Director of Operations aims to fuel an insurrection in Cuba but has no clue who is in line to succeed the 86-year-old El Comrade Jefe (read: Raul Castro). The State Department, meanwhile, wants former academic Ryker and his Critical Response Unit, which expertly manipulates moments of crisis in America's favor, to influence Cuba's future. Even before Ryker lands in Cuba for an ultrasecret meeting with military intelligence chief Oswaldo Guerrero—the notorious "Diablo" known for ruining American schemes going back to the Bay of Pigs—Judd's CIA operative wife, Jessica, is in Florida investigating the boaters' shady backgrounds. The book's running gimmick is that husband and wife, who have found themselves at tactical odds in other countries, have promised never again to work on the same case in the same city. But here is Jessica, who's supposed to be vacationing with their kids, counting the lies she's telling Judd as she gets deeper into danger. Though their Mr. & Mrs. Smith act isn't always believable, it gives the book a lighter and breezier appeal than Moss' previous efforts, The Golden Hour (2015) and Minute Zero (2015).
Former government official Moss offers a lively, informed, and timely political novel about Cuba's future and America's role in it.