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Review Excerpts

St. Petersburg Times - March 11, 2009
"...in Fidel's dotage, Roland Merullo sends him Carolina Perez, to help kill him. I will not, of course, tell you whether she and her colleagues in the international conspiracy charmingly named the White Orchid succeed. I will tell you that the journey is a heart-stopping one. In Merullo's world everyone is at risk and no one, on either side of the Straits of Florida, is to be trusted… [Merullo] is simply a throwback to the days when novels by serious writers — Stevenson, Conrad, Greene — often had what are called 'plots.'"

Boston Globe - January 11, 2009

"Roland Merullo has penned a fast-paced and highly satisfying spy thriller about a conspiracy to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro. Merullo seamlessly switches the action from Miami, where a secret organization of Cuban expatriates is plotting to kill Castro, to Havana, where we see Castro's dictatorship in action and watch an internal assassination plot develop among Castro's own advisers. These two plots (and the separate narrative strains) come together at book's end in a dramatic climax that may turn out to be anti-climactic after all... ...There are unanswered questions and potential betrayals throughout Merullo's gripping tale of deception. Can Perez trust the secretive organization that she's working for? Has this secret organization actually been infiltrated by Castro's intelligence network? Can Gutierrez deceive the paranoid Olochon and the ever-suspicious Castro? And will the method of killing Castro, having Gutierrez apply a lethal ointment to Castro's skin during a routine medical visit, actually have its expected deadly effect? Merullo leaves the reader in suspense, while constantly pushing the twin narrative strains (one focused in Miami, the other in Havana) together toward a resolution... ...In "Fidel's Last Days," Roland Merullo takes readers on a fictional thrill ride filled with so much danger and drama that they won't want it to end."

New York Times – December 28, 2008
"...those of us who would like to visit Cuba must make do with secondhand sightseeing — which includes books like “Fidel’s Last Days,”... about an effort to kill Castro that gets nearly as complicated as the Bay of Pigs invasion. The plot is led by a privately run, super-secret organization, the White Orchid, which believes in the power of assassinations to make the world a better place for democracy... Merullo belongs to that category of thriller writers who delight in putting their characters through mirrored mazes while withholding crucial information... Throughout “Fidel’s Last Days,” Merullo portrays Cuba as a country stifled by fear and an oppressive secret police — a nation ripe, even desperate, for revolution. Perhaps Americans will soon have the chance to find out for themselves if he’s right."

Publishers Weekly – October 6, 2008
After two light comedies with spiritual overtones, American Savior (2008) and Breakfast with Buddha (2007), Merullo mines far darker material to construct a powerful tale of modern-day, devastated Cuba and its all but indestructible dictator, Fidel Castro… … The suspense is as thick as an authentic café cubano, and the labyrinthine plot appears to point to a successful conclusion, until Merullo jams the knife in one last time and gives this timely thriller a final, chilling twist.
 

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