Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Betrayal Game-David L. Robbins

The Betrayal Game
David L. Robbins
Bantam, Feb 2008, $25.00
ISBN: 978 0553804423

In March 1961, Professor Mikhal Lammeck, an expert on the history of political assassination, arrives in Cuba to witness first hand the murder of the charismatic new president Fidel Castro. He has heard the same rumors that is all over the small Communist nation; the American CIA is sponsoring a rebel invasion soon with Castro expected to be killed. He is here to witness first hand his theory that a bullet can change the path of the future.

Arriving detached as an academic watcher, over the next few weeks Mikhal finds Castro to be dynamic, charming, and fearless as several failed attempts on the Communist’s life has already occurred; Mikhal begins to believe the man could prove a force for change not just in Cuba. However, the professor also becomes knowledgeable of a former US Marine sniper either on the island or coming to Cuba; the only reason this American would be here is to squeeze one bullet into Castro’s head. Unable to stay outside the fishbowl he has been observing, a no longer unattached Mikhal dives in to try to save Castro’s life.

This is an interesting historical fiction that looks closely at events starting six weeks before and culminating with the Kennedy equivalent to “slam dunk”, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The story line is action-packed from the moment the countdown to April 17, 1961, but tension is lacking due to one insurmountable problem with the premise: readers know Castro survived that coup d’etat and almost fifty years later has outlasted several presidents. Still this is a fine follow up to the exciting The Assassins Game; just no as suspenseful.

Harriet Klausner