Monday, August 17, 2009

Havana Twist by Lia Matera

Protagonist: Willa Jansson
Setting: Cuba and Mexico City
Rating: 4.5
When attorney Willa Jansson's "superlefty" mom disappears in Cuba, Jansson sets out to find her, traveling back and forth between Havana and Mexico City. After several murders, former flame Homicide Lt. Don Surgelato joins her. I liked this book for several reasons: there's quite a bit of humor among the plot twists and turns (sort of like a Kinsey Millhone abroad) and because she depicts the Cuba of the 1990s with harsh accuracy. The hotel Willa stays at could have been the same one I once stayed at: one with a small, drab hotel room that reeked of mildew. Says Willa about a second trip to Havana: "I dreaded returning to Cuba, not because America had demonized it for forty years, but because of the scarcity and sadness hanging over it, swallowing up residents and tourists alike." This is the seventh and, as far as I can tell, the final Willa Jansson book in the series. It's a shame, because I would have liked to have read much more about Willa.

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