The Havana Room
By Colin Harrison
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374299866, 400pp.)
Publication Date: January 2004
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The Havana Room is the tale of a man from his fall from the heights of power and wealth in New York to the moment where he might well die.
Bill Wyeth is a successful real-estate attorney in his late thirties with a wife and son, who, by the merest chance, loses everything: family, job, status. Unmoored and alone, Wyeth drifts toward the city's darker corners. Restoration seems unlikely, redemption impossible, when Wyeth finds himself in an old-time Manhattan steakhouse. He is intrigued by the manager, Allison Sparks--sexy, complicated, and independent in all ways. She also controls access to the restaurant's private bar. This is the Havana Room, and what goes on in there, he's told, is secret.
Wyeth agrees to help Alison's friend, Jay Rainey, in concluding a last-minute midnight real-estate transaction. As soon as he sees the players and the paperwork, Wyeth knows something is wrong.
Within hours, Wyeth finds himself tangled in Rainey's peculiar obsessions, which involve a Chilean businessman who feels he's been swindled, an old farmer frozen dead to a bulldozer, an outrageous black owner of a downtown hiphop club, and a fourteen-year-old English girl. Only Rainey knows the connections among these people, which are revealed when Wyeth is finally admitted to the Havana Room--where the survival of its inhabitants is most uncertain.
Colin Harrison is the author of, most recently, Afterburn (FSG, 2000). He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"A gripping thriller by a master storyteller, tautly written, and ingeniously plotted. The Havana Room has the raw, scathing commentary of The Bonfire of the Vanities and the pacing of The Firm all rolled into one terrific read. This is Colin Harrison's best book yet."
--Vince Flynn, author of Executive Power