cover image The Good Assassin

The Good Assassin

Paul Vidich. Atria/Bestler, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1042-9

Cuba in the late 1950s provides the backdrop for Vidich’s simmering, old-fashioned literary spy tale, the sequel to 2016’s An Honorable Man. The CIA director persuades retired agent George Mueller to go to Cuba during the perilous last throes of the Batista regime to investigate Toby Graham, a CIA operative suspected of assisting Fidel Castro’s rebel fighters with diverted CIA weaponry. Posing as a magazine travel writer, Mueller reconnects with Jack and Liz Malone, old friends who have relocated to Cuba and are unable to see the coming upheaval in their lives, both political and personal. Toby’s betrayals aren’t limited to his mission, and Mueller must make a choice between justice and duty, between loyalty to his profession and to his friends. A novel of prerevolutionary Cuba can scarcely escape nods to Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene, but Vidich most deliberately evokes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, from the opening epigraph to the denouement. The high quality of the author’s prose makes this a worthy homage. Agent: Will Roberts, Gernert Company. (Apr.)