At the height of World War II, the famous writer Ernest Hemingway sought permission from the U.S. government to operate a spy ring out of his house in the Cuban countryside. This much is true... It is the summer of ’42 and FBI agent Joe Lucas has come to Cuba at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover to keep an eye on Hemingway. The great writer has assembled a ragtag spy ring that he calls the “Crook Factory” to play a dangerous game of amateur espionage. But then Lucas and Hemingway, against all the odds, uncover a critical piece of intelligence - and the game turns deadly.
In The Crook Factory, award-winning author Dan Simmons expands a little-known fact into a tour de force of gripping historical suspense set in the sensual Cuban landscape of the early 1940s.
©1999 Dan Simmons (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Probably more like 3-1/2 stars, maybe even 4. That's the issue with this book. At times it was very interesting, other times it was confusing. I was not sure why some things happened and when I went back to see if I missed something, I hadn???t, or I missed it again? At the beginning I found myself going back so much I put it on hold and got another book so I could listen to it will I worked on a home project. I waited until I could focus more to finish this one. I wasn???t sure how much of this was fiction or reality either. In the end the author explains some of that in the epilogue, but I might have enjoyed the book more if the prologue revealed a bit more. Others might not see this as an issue and I think many people will really like this book. It just missed the mark for me a bit. That said I did like many of the characters in the book, for sure the main character Joe Lucas, and the portrayal or Ernest Hemingway. The voice for Hemingway was a bit whinny and irritating at times, which does not fit the profile, but that was a minor issue. If you like stories that delve into some of the unknown aspects of WWII and are curious about Hemingway himself, you???ll probably enjoy this book. Even at 3-1/2 stars it was not a wasted credit. Just not a big winner for me.
Dan Simmons does a superb job of weaving kernels of history into a splendid novel of intrigue. Hemingway, J. Edgar Hoover, Ian Fleming, Ingrid Bergman, Marlena Dietrich, Nazis, spies, Havana street urchins, even a young JFK ... they're all here!
While the author does a good job of setting the tone and giving historical background, he goes on waaaay too many tangents. He feels he needs to give the back-story to just about every historical detail and character; even to the point of explaining in excruciating detail how cigars are made, just because at one point for about 10 minutes in the story the characters find themselves in a cigar rolling factory. These detours into minutia are a huge detractor; and Mr. Simmons should avail himself to the services of a talented editor to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are a few technical and historical errors, but none that are distracting.
Patrick Lawlor's performance is what saves this audio book! His characterizations, accents, inflections are top rate. He is one of those narrators where you often have to remind yourself that there is really only one person reading this book, rather than a cast of characters like an old radio show. Brav-OH!!
I will certainly be interested in taking a look at any other books in the historical novel genre that Mr. Simmons may have to offer -- with the hope they are better edited. I will definitely be interested in other books read by Mr. Lawlor.
Avid general reader with a fondness for British and Irish Writers and world history.
Reasonably well done - It is hard for this reader to like Hemingway in any part of his life. I kept having the feeling that this story would have been much more interesting if the author had been forthcoming about his day-to-day character - he was a great seeker of fame.
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