Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano

Havana Lunar
by Robert Arellano

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2009
Publisher: Akashic Books
Genre: Mystery, Cuba, Havana
Paperback: 200
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
It's Friday, and when I get back to the attic I see that Julia hasn't returned.

One hungry, hallucinatory night in the dark heart of Havana, Mano Rodriguez, a young doctor with the revolutionary medical service, comes to the aid of a teenage jinetera named Julia. She takes refuge in his clinic to break away from the abusive chulo who prostituted her, and they form an unlikely allegiance that Mano thinks might save him from his twin burdens: the dead-end hospital assignment he was delegated after being blacklisted by the Cuban Communist Party and a Palo Monte curse on his love life commissioned by a vengeful ex-wife. But when the pimp and his bodyguards come after Julia and Mano, the violent chain-reaction plunges them all into the decadent catacombs of Havana's criminal underworld.

Inspired by fifty years of Cuban literary noir, from Cold Tales by Virgilio PiƱera to Reinaldo Arenas’ Before Night Falls, Robert Arellano’s Havana Lunar intertwines an insider testimony on the collapse of socialist Cuba with a psychological mystery.

Zombie sighting:
We went through our morning chores like a pack of walking zombies: sweeping the patio, feeding and tending to the animals, readying the places for lunch in dubious hope that Manolito might return.
-chapter August 12, 1980, page 104

My two-bits:

Got a good dose of doctors and prostitutes during the times period in this mystery. Interesting to note that the story is not told by the detective's point of view.


* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)


  1. I like the look of this story. Cuba is such a fascinating place

  2. Underworld Havana... interesting setting and situation for the mystery.


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