Cuban Heel by Leopold Borstinski

Today Mandie shares her thoughts on book five in the Alex Cohen series by Leopold Borstinski, Cuban Heel. Thanks to Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting Mandie to take part. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 30 April 2021

About the Book

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.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Cuban Heel is the 5th book in the Alex Cohen series, and I enjoyed this one just as much as the previous books. This time the story takes us through the 1950’s and sees Alex and his good friend Meyer Lansky looking to set up business in Cuba with a string of Casinos. To do this they have to get in bed with the Cuban President who is not exactly above board with regards to his business dealings. Alex is also back with his ex-wife Sarah and is slowly reconnecting with his estranged sons and sister. Whilst part of him is happy with his current life in Havana there is also a part of him that misses his old life back in the states.

This book has a slightly different feel to it as it seems to focus entirely on the relationship between Alex and his friend and you certainly get the feeling that Meyer Lansky still calls all the shots even though he tries to convince Alex that they are going to be partners in the casino ventures. As time goes on you can see that Alex gets more and more uneasy about the relationship and just how much he would be on the hook for should anything go wrong. Although he is still occasionally drawn back into his old life by his former associates, he takes great lengths to keep his sons out of that side of his life only wanting them to deal with his legitimate transactions.

Despite some of the things that Alex does you can’t help but like him. He has made the best of his life that he can but the overarching thing about him is his loyalty to both friends and family. Where once he would do what was asked of him, he now questions some of the requests and takes his time to consider if it is the right thing for him. Once again Borstinski has peppered his book with real events of the era and real people to add a touch of authenticity to the story. This time Alex has the revolution led by Fidel Castro to contend with and this is a part of history I am not overly familiar with, so it was interesting to read about some of the things that went on at this time.

After his abrupt departure from Cuba, I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for Alex next and if he will ever retire and live a quiet life with Sarah.

About the Author

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.

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