cover image The Successor

The Successor

Stephen Frey, . . Ballantine, $24.95 (283pp) ISBN 978-0-345-48062-0

Christian Gillette, the hero of Frey's timely thriller, which centers on the possible death of Fidel Castro, runs a huge private investment firm, Everest Capital, but finds lots of time to plunge into politics and international adventure when not shuffling vast amounts of cash around. Jesse Wood, the first African-American president, calls Gillette to Camp David to ask him to find out, almost singlehandedly, if Castro has indeed died and, if so, to help a liberal bunch of non-Communist Cubans take back their country. Gillette, who was Wood's first choice as vice-president until he decided to pick a more politically seasoned running mate, agrees despite the considerable danger involved. "Maybe it would satisfy his growing hunger to do something bigger, something more important, than manage Everest," Frey (The Power Broker ) tells us. Despite some pedestrian prose, the action quickly takes on a life of its own, aided by a sadly credible wealth of details about what it takes to survive in Cuba. (Jan.)