RARA-AVIS: Edgar's: Latour

From: Peter Walker ( pw@pw.cablenet.co.uk)
Date: 04 Feb 2000

Just like to recommend Cuban crime writre Jose Latour's "The Outsider"
 which was nominated in the cat Best Original Paperback. Very good indeed and amazing really given the fact that Cuban crime writing isa closed - and even blockaded - world to us - well to you lot anyway.

"Outcast" is a very good hard-boiled thriller in which the central character, Elliot Steil, escapes from the failing and restrictive socialist state only to land in a corrupt Miami where, literally, everything has a price. The transformation of mild mannered Steil as he searches for answers to why someone would want him killed is the core of the book.

One of the things that makes "Outcast" so interesting - and important
- is the way Latour is able to blend political issues effortlessly throughout the book. Elliot, musing on the world around him says:
"...America confuses liberty with libertinism...my homeland and this country face the same fundamental issue: the limits of control. In Cuba laws etc...rule almost everything a person can do and you end up feeling enslaved. In the US respect for individual rights seems to have turned freedom into a form of anarchy in certain social strata."

Latour's next novel will also be in English, there's an interview with CBS in January, a trip in February to the U.S., and he is rewriting
"The Fool,", an earlier work, to be released by Akashic this year.
"The Fool" is "a story about a Cuban sugar-trader who is tricked into playing a role in an international drug-money laundering operation. Much of the action takes place in southern Mexico - both in a city and in the jungle. It is written very well, extremely suspenseful, and the character development is incredible." Definitely one to look out for.

So there you go.


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