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This is Let me tell you the novelty of being cold and in the dark wears off after just a few days. This is Raffel's first foray into the genre of the historical novel. Already a fan having enjoyed his three thrillers, I got what I expected: But "A Fine and Dangerous Season" is much more. It has a can't-put-it-down aspect which was just perfect for getting me through a couple of long nights.

In retrospect this is surprising and a testament to Raffel's story-telling talents because, after all, I already knew how the major story arc would turn out. The United States and the Soviet Union did not destroy the world in an exchange of nuclear missiles. It's hard to write about a world well known to the reader and not make a mistake.

How long did it take to fly from coast to coast in ? What streets do you pass getting from the White House to the Soviet Embassy? As far as I can tell the minutia is right on target. I don't want to spoil the suspense for you by talking too much about the plot. Suffice it to say Raffel puts us right in the middle of the crisis negotiations through the instrument of an everyman who happens to have been a school chum of President John Kennedy who also happens to have a contact which proves invaluable to the President and the nation.

It may seem a stretch but that is the beauty of the conceit. Years after the crisis it was revealed that a news reporter named John Scali played a similar go-between role. Even if the power is on at your house!

The Rap Sheet: The Story Behind the Story: “A Fine and Dangerous Season,” by Keith Raffel

Historical fiction is a challenging genre. An author not only faces the difficulty of creating a narrative, but he or she must also examine how much "truth" to actually put into the work. It is fiction after all. But if a writer is going to use history as his or her framework, then something of that history must be accurate. Kennedy is a subject just ripe for fiction authors and Raffel dives Historical fiction is a challenging genre. Kennedy is a subject just ripe for fiction authors and Raffel dives right in. This was an era of Soviet tension, spies, theoretical wars, real wars, secrets, and plenty of lies.

The novel centers on our protagonist and his involvement with the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Raffel uses real people, places, and events to outline the immense challenges facing the United States government during this period. Had the novel stayed on track, it would have been a great read. Instead, Raffel travels down the tired path of action and violence. Rather than intrigue, we get gun battles in the streets of Washington. The novel felt like it suffered from split personality. One one side, we have a well-written historical thriller about one of the most tense moments in post-war history.

On the other, we have a thrill-a-minute action novel with the depth of a mud puddle. The first person narrative only added to the split personality feel. The historical intrigue and tension worked beautifully within this construct. Car chases and shoot-em-ups did not. By the end, I was skilled at tuning out sections and refocusing my attention once we got past the violent fluff. Definitely mixed feelings on this.

Keith Raffel is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. It was on my list of one of the top 10 books for book clubs to read. See the complete review at: Jun 16, J. What I liked most about this book is the way it showed how history is made by real people, with all their strengths, weaknesses, flaws, old grudges, resentments, grace, loyalty, faithlessness, idealism, and cynicism--sometimes all in the same character. Keith Raffel does a great job of portraying his people, both historical and fictional, so that you care not only about what happens to the country which you probably already know but what happens to them.

That's what makes the best historical f What I liked most about this book is the way it showed how history is made by real people, with all their strengths, weaknesses, flaws, old grudges, resentments, grace, loyalty, faithlessness, idealism, and cynicism--sometimes all in the same character.

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That's what makes the best historical fiction, and the way Raffel handles the "ticking clock" of the Cuban Missile Crisis makes this a top-notch thriller as well. This was an interesting historical novel: What spoiled it for me was the overbearing, egotistical, competitive tone of the protagonist, who, in the book, was a college friend of President Kennedy and who was holding onto a decades-long grudge against him.

But that's okay, when the call came, our hero was willing to help save the world anyway. This guy personified all that is so crazy about white male culture A book that had a lot of promise but ended up silly and unbelievable. President Kennedy, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, calls upon his ex-friend from college whose girlfriend Kennedy slept with, hence the ex-friendship , to help solve the crisis. This ex friend, has a friend in the KGB and that is his connection to helping solve the problem. Someone doesn't A book that had a lot of promise but ended up silly and unbelievable.

Someone doesn't want the problem solved diplomatically so bullets fly and lives are lost. I am not sure why I finished it, but I did. Keith Raffel's tightest work to date, his fourth book combines the tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis with the suspense of a masterfully written thriller novel. The story of a young man, Nate, who befriends and then falls out with JFK before the war, is woven into the factual events of the time, setting up Nate to save the world or die trying, despite his personal disdain for the president.

I screamed so fast through the final chapters to learn Nate's fate, I was out of breath and caught comple Keith Raffel's tightest work to date, his fourth book combines the tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis with the suspense of a masterfully written thriller novel. I screamed so fast through the final chapters to learn Nate's fate, I was out of breath and caught completely off guard by the concluding revelation. From beginning to end I was hooked, and it kept me reading into the late hours.

The portrayal of Kennedy was perfect, and totally believable. I loved how the author captured Jackie also very realistic. The Russians--oh my, they were so real it made me shutter at what could have happened. If you were a Kennedy fan, you will love this book. I'll be watching for this author to soar to the best-sellers list. The Cuban missile crisis is an interesting period of time in our history and with a president that I always like to know more about.

But although this was about political intrigue and behind the scenes, so to speak, novel, it did mot feel real. I know at the end he talks about the research he did, the story was not convincing. It was a fun, light read, and I know that it is a novel,but I did not take anything away like I have into her similar books. The title doesn't do it justice; this is a very good historical novel. I read this over the course of a day and a half. Riveting and realistic, recognizable historical characters, iconic figures from my early teenage years -- hard to put down!

Only two predictable scene moments, but maybe I just guessed right. Yes, this is historical fiction, but it is a riveting thriller as well. And yes we did come very close to a nuclear war with the USSR. Thank God the cooler intellect of our commander-in-chief prevailed at that time Unfortunately 13 months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, 50 years ago, the US military industrial complex murdered him.

This book began with an interesting premise and some good writing; it sadly ended in chase scenes and gun battles on the streets of Washington DC. Books that devolve into movie scripts are just not for me. Mar 25, Melissa Acuna rated it it was amazing. Fantastic suspenseful work of historic fiction set in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Highly recommend for lovers of historical fiction.

Mar 29, Allison A rated it it was amazing.


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I loved this story, the real facts fit perfectly within the fiction and the story keeps you moving. I thought it was just as much a romance as thriller. Something for everyone with a sprinkling of America's royal family. One of the best!

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Well written, detailed thriller based on reality One of the best! Well written, detailed thriller based on reality I was born in Cuba, lived through the missile crisis, a Pedro Pan child in the U. Exciting book even though we knew the eventual outcome. A few weeks later, Nate caught Jack in bed with Miriam. Jack asks Nate to meet with Volkov again. Nate sets up the meeting, but Volkov is late. As Nate is preparing to leave, someone begins shooting at him.

One of two secret service agents with Nate is killed. Nate manages to run. Volkov picks him up in a car. Volkov tells Nate that he did not arrange the meeting the day before and had no idea who was shooting at Nate. Volkov also tells Nate that he needs to tell the president to be careful because there are people in Washington working against peace between their two countries. The situation becomes even more dangerous when the Cubans shoot down an American plane flying over their country.

Jack announces that if the Cubans shoot down another plane, the United States will retaliate.

Just the Facts

That night, Nate watches a movie with Jack. The next morning, Nate arranges to see Volkov before the American planes are scheduled for their flyover of Cuba. Volkov tells Nate that Khrushchev is not in control of what the Cubans do. Volkov then contacts the head of the KGB in Russia and tells him that the Americans are willing to remove missiles from Turkey and will not claim victory if the crisis ends.

Volkov receives a message saying that the Russians agree to this condition and will take their nuclear missiles from Cuba. Volkov is shot and killed by the GRU. Nate and Miss Leontieva rush to find Jack at the church where he is attending services. They are followed by the GRU and a taxi driver is killed.

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When they arrive at the church, the police threaten to arrest Nate, but the secret service comes to his rescue. Nate tells Jack what he has learned and Jack stops the plane fly over. After the crisis has ended, Nate returns home to his wife and twin sons. It is in the final sentence of the novel that the reader learns that Nate married Miriam despite her affair with Jack.

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