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Final Acts: A Novel by Alex Abella

Final Acts: A Novel

by Alex Abella

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684859890, Hardcover)

Charlie Morrell returns in a third adventure for the high-flying Cuban- American lawyer and author who made his first appearance in Alex Abella's The Killing of the Saints. This time Charlie's on the run from a murder charge involving the ritual slayings of two women linked to a murderous Havana cult, which gives the author a chance to demonstrate his expertise (and treat the reader to a travelogue) about Cuba in the waning days of the Castro regime. Given the state of geopolitics, it's a useful lesson in what's going on in other corners of the globe, too, as a security agent who uses Charlie's quest for his own purpose--to trap an American gangster--explains: "Perhaps you remember what happens in the final stages of a, let's say, authoritarian regime. Factions develop, differing interests struggle to position themselves in a restricted reality so as to reassert control and expand their particular spheres of influence. Moves are made to eliminate competing factions, which answer in kind, which leads to even greater instability, the whole thing being ultimately solved by either the hegemonic triumph of one factor or the imposition of a new extraneous order which takes advantage of all the infighting among the competing centers."

Charlie manages to stay one step ahead of an old foe in the LAPD, who thinks he killed the women to revive his career as an author and show his own lawyer, the redoubtable Rita Carr, how to do her job. This fast-paced read suffers from two shortcomings. Charlie's characterization is about an inch deep, and much of the story is recounted in a novel within a novel that's stylistically awkward and not as satisfying as a more direct approach might be. But Rita is a heroine to watch--maybe next time Abella will give her her own book. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:52 -0400)

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