Dale Dye, best known as the guy who re-invented military technical advising in Hollywood when he worked his magic in the movie Platoon in the mid eighties, is a retired Marine Corps captain. He served in Vietnam in 1965 and in 1967-70 and survived thirty-one combat operations.
Dye, who also has acted in many films and has written a slew of novels (including Laos File, Run Between the Raindrops, and the novelization of Platoon) is a superb story teller who gets his details and language right. Havana File (Warriors Publishing Group, 306 pp., $14.95, paper; $7.99, Kindle), the sixth book in his Shake Davis series, is a military thriller told mostly in short, snappy chapters. It moves right along from the first page. When you pick up a Dale Dye book, you know it will be professional, well-written, and a page-turner.
I will emulate Dye’s style and not say too much about the story right off the bat. I was thrilled to encounter Marine Cpl. Gus Hasford in this book, but saddened when he was killed. I like how Dye uses the names of people from his time in the Marine Corps as characters’ names and how this gives the dead ones immortality of a sort.
The book is about a team of Marine raiders that lands on Fidel Castro’s private Cuban island and rescue a missing American intelligence agent. It contains a fair amount of what I’d call ranting, including how ill it was to have normalized relations with Castro’s Cuba.
President Obama, who is not named, is described as the “guy in the White House who’s looking to justify his Nobel Peace Prize even if it destroys the country he’s sworn to preserve.”
John Wayne is mentioned. So are Jack Reacher and Jimmy Buffet. The Vietnam War appears as a scene that takes place in 1968 at the Cua Viet River in I Corps.
I know that many people who have read the first five books in Dye’s fine Shake Davis series, have been Jonesing for the sixth. Here it is. It stands up well to the expectations awakened by the first five.
I was happy with it and read it straight through. Thanks, Dale.