Thursday, March 19, 2009

From Moore to Latour (Havana World Series)

I'm about halfway through this novel set in 1958 Havana. The big heist has taken place, and author José Latour has managed a beguiling combination of suspense and relaxed description, the latter often undercutting the former to humorous, gently mocking effect ("Wilbur `Lefty' Clark and his second-in-command, Tom Magenty, from Casino Parisien, drove down Paseo Avenue in a majestic '59 Cadillac De Ville at 11:29.")

Amused detachment comes through at unexpected moments and betrays a sense of leisurely wonder highly unexpected in a heist story. I don't how many readers will share my opinion, but I love this description of a killing:
"Grouse's Frankenstein didn't know a word of English, but having heard `No' twice, he made a sudden upward thrust. The bayonet went through skin, tongue, and the palatine and cranial cavities as if piercing a loaf of white bread. The left parietal bone finally stopped it. The hall supervisor hopped, his eyeballs bulged out, broken nerve connections lost control, sphincters yielded. Urine and excrement gushed freely, the body jerked convulsively, and life fled away in a whirlwind of contradictory impulses."
Read the first chapter of Havana World Series free at Latour's Web site.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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Anonymous Private Investigator said...

It is good to know about the “Havana World Series”. Detective stories are always exciting and interesting to read…

March 19, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Oh, wonderful description, Peter - as long as you don´t kill children off in this way :D

March 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, that's what cigarettes are for. But it is a nice description, isn't it? The detachment is amusing, and that last clause shows the narrator and character are alive to experience. it goes far toward generating sympathy for the holdup men. By sympathy, I mean that Latour gets to feel and think as they do. And they are a pretty engaging and sympathetic lot.

March 19, 2009  

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