“Would you work with the devil to build a paradise on Earth?
Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen joins long-time friend and business partner, Meyer Lansky to recreate Las Vegas in 1950s Havana. When dictator President Batista gives them the opportunity to build their dream casino complexes, Alex must choose between dancing with this devil or being in debt to the Italian mob.
If he takes the mafia money then he will be tied to the men who planned his earlier downfall and removed his mentor, Lucky Luciano from the syndicate. If he refuses their investment then he will be beholden to the tinpot generalissimo and his bloated ego. But Alex knows that there is more at stake than mere gelt–now he has his family surrounding him and they will suffer the ultimate price if he makes a bad decision.
The fifth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which tears at the heart of the Jewish mob’s role in pre-revolution Cuba. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction gives each reader the shocking skinny into the building of modern America.”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of Cuban Heel by Leopold Borstinski as part of the blog tour. Cuban Heel was published in paperback and digital formats by Sobriety Press on 3rd April 2021. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Cuban Heel but that has in no way influenced my review.
Cuban Heel is the fifth book in the author’s Alex Cohen Series and if you’re a fan of historical crime or mob fiction then these books are a must read! Each book (starting with The Bowery Slugger) covers a decade of Cohen’s life from his teenage years on the mean streets of the Bowery to Cuban Heel, the latest release, which sees Cohen move to Cuba to make his mark in the 1950s. There are a further two books planned in the series and I, for one, cannot wait to read them.
Cohen and pal, Meyer Lansky, have moved to Cuba to continue to build on their Las Vegas success and make Havana their own tropical paradise. Lansky has been cultivating a relationship with Fulgencio Batista so when the dictator overthrows the existing president in a coup, and takes control of the island, Lansky is able to pull the right strings to ensure everything falls into the correct place. Over the years, Lansky and Cohen build a formidable empire of casinos and entertainment venues for the rich and famous to throw their money away in. But with increasing and ever present political unrest, Cohen must keep his interests, and most importantly, his family safe, to ensure the gelt keeps rolling in. With added pressure from the Italian commission and frequent talk of the Castro brother’s uprising, Alex Cohen will have to fight to save what’s important to him…
I love the Alex Cohen series. Cuban Heel is a great addition to a fascinating and immersive series which I will be sad to see come to an end. The author cleverly takes real events and historical figures and mixes them up with his own fictional characters to great effect. The reader really shouldn’t really like Alex Cohen. He’s a violent and aggressive man who will snuff out a life if it benefits him or he’s been instructed to do so. There’s just something about him though that is, gosh, endearing…? Can a merciless killer be endearing? I think that’s part of the appeal of this series. I have read every single book so far and I’ve been with Cohen every step of the blood-soaked way, yet I somehow feel a fondness towards him. Which is testament to the author’s brilliant writing. I am 100% invested in this series.
I will confess that my knowledge of this time in history is a little patchy. However, I am a lot more clued up since reading Cuban Heel. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read a single Alex Cohen book and not at some point Googled the real-life characters or events to find out more. Not only does Borstinski provide his readers with a fascinating, page-turner of a story but I always come away from one of his books feeling I have a deeper understanding of that period in history.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Cuban Heel is a great addition to the Alex Cohen Series. I do feel you could read it as a standalone but when there are four brilliant books before this one, why not indulge a little and get hold of the entire series. I loved that Cohen has become a reformed family man reuniting with his ex-wife, Sarah, and two of their sons, David and Moishe, along with Alex’s estranged sister, Esther. The book has a very strong sense of family which we haven’t seen from Cohen before. It was great to see his protective, softer side. As you would expect from a book about gangsters, there is violence but I thought it was toned down a little this time (compared to the earlier books). It’s official, I’m an Alex Cohen fan! I can’t wait to see where the 1960s take Alex. Be assured, wherever it is, I’ll be along for the ride! Recommended.
I chose to read and review a free eARC of Cuban Heel. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Cuban Heel by Leopold Borstinski was published in the UK by Sobriety Press on 3rd April 2021 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | amazon.com |
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.