Chasin’ the Wind
Five Star, Mar 2008, $25.95
At the Key West Sail Club, three men batter Tom Hunter. His pal reporter Liam “Mad Mick” Murphy finds him and just before he goes unconscious Tom whispers Gusanos, Cuban exiles. Whereas police Chief Richard Dowlry assumes the upcoming Key West Havana Boat race brought some angry Cuban exiles to the Keys from Little Havana, Mad Mick learns otherwise. A bartender overheard three Cubans bragging about roughing up someone.
Mad Mick learns they are Jose Lopez, Carlos Gonzales and Pepe Fernandez and that the Feds are protecting these hoodlums. When Tom dies, Mick and others want justice, but the American government turns its back on the law so led by Mick, the Conch Republic eccentrics seek help from Cuban police officials.
With an obvious twist on who’s the good guys and who is the bad guys, CHASIN’ THE WIND is an engaging crime thriller that will have readers (with the exception of those who still expect to find the WMDs) rethinking the relationship with Cuba. The story line is fast-paced as the Feds protect the killing Gusanos while the locals demand justice from their government but turn elsewhere to achieve it. Fans will ponder did Mick and crew commit treason by going to Cuba and did the Gusanos commit murder since the government “sanctioned” them and the government makes the law. Michael Haskins provides an offbeat entertaining thriller that will remind ancient boomers of Phil Ochs’ Ballad of William Worthy whose refrain is “You are living in the free world, in the free world you must stay”.