REVIEW ☆ The Havana Room

Colin Harrison à 1 REVIEW

Bill Wyeth is a rising real estate attorney living the lofty heights of success Then a tragic accident The Havana PDFEPUBclaims everything he has his family his fortune his career But this is Manhattan and Bill has much further to fall His downward spiral. Colin Harrison is trying to do for New York what Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy have done for Los Angeles map the sinister underbelly of the city the nexus of greed and lust and ambition that metastasizes there and its dark spawn of larceny and murder So wrote Michiko Kakutani in her New York Times review back in 2004 when The Havana Room was first published Ms Kakutani went on to write about the book in glowing terms not something she s usually known forAs a big Colin Harrison fan myself so happens I m in complete agreement The Havana Room is one hell of a literary crime thriller capturing the energy of New York City in startling ways Here are a batch of Off Off Broadway headliners a reader will encounter in its sizzling pagesThe Old Bill Wyeth Our perceptive highly intelligent keenly analytic articulate narrator is a 39 year old rich successful lawyer living with his wife and son on the Upper East Side of Manhattan His prospects are bountiful although he probably will live a conventional predictable even what some would consider a boring life Bill is poised to become even accomplished in his chosen field of law and incredibly over the top wealthy The New Bill Wyeth Then a random spinning of Fortuna s wheel casts this stellar barrister down with a crash Bill inadvertently causes the death of one of his six year old son s friends The son s rich father sues and gets Bill fired he s forced out of his apartment his wife Judith can t take it and leaves with son Timothy for San Francisco Soon thereafter the divorce papers come through All of a sudden Bill s life is anything but boring he s a divorced man on the down and out skids Femme Fatale Lonely despondent unemployed there s one high spot in Bill s life he dines at an old New York steakhouse Ulysses S Grant and Charles Dickens paid visits where he meets and gets to know the manager of the establishment alluring available sexy Allison Sparks a gal who turns out to be a magnet for trouble Like a ferromagnetic metal Bill is drawn to Allison big time Oh Bill if you only knew Dastardly Deed One evening at the restaurant Allison asks Bill to stand in as real estate lawyer his specialty for her friend Jay Rainey Bill knows he shouldn t be bullied into agreeing to review contracts and offer advice under a makeshift arrangement with the clock ticking on an unreasonable deadline but he would be given a chance to impress Allison and also prove to his wounded lawyer ego that he still has what it takes to untangle knotty legal documents After all he muses how far can he fall now that he s fallen this far Whoa Billy What a blunder You can spiral much much further down and you do Rugged Rainey Big burly Jay comes off as your typical NYC tough guy but the we learn about this well built athlete raised on a Long Island farm the our hearts soften Likewise Bill Wyeth begins to appreciate the depth of Jay s suffering as he goes about unraveling clues to the big man s blood ties and past tragedies Down on the Farm After all the papers are signed Jay and Bill take a ride out to the farm that was part of the deal Bill just approved The men encounter the unexpected long time farm hand Herschel is frozen in the driver s seat of a tractor And what in the world was he trying to bury The thick plottens Dangerous White Collars The buyer of the farm Mr Marceno a Chilean wine baron demands a meeting with Bill Wyeth he wants to know what is under the land he now owns He points a threatening finger in Bill s face and says if anything is less than perfect Mr Bill the attorney of record will be on the receiving end of a mammoth lawsuit Dangerous Gold Chains The relatives of Herschel are upset and demand money for all the hard work over the years poor Herschel put in for the owners of that farm And that s relatives as in big strong mean dangerous men who will exert all sorts of pressure to get what they want Are you listenin to me Mr Bill Wyeth Similar to New York City author Richard Price with novels such as Clockers Colin Harrison has an excellent ear for the way New Yorkers from all socioeconomic strata talk With the likes of HJ Gabriel Denny and Lemont there s the undeniable sense real people are doing real talking Dangerous City New York s mighty heart pulses and pounds making its urban presence felt on every page In many ways this is a tale of the multicultural multiracial multi everything else metropolis from posh private restaurants offices and apartments to public dangers lurking thieves on the streets plunderers in law firms all set to pounce on unsuspecting victims who let their guards down The Havana Room The exclusive very private room in Allison s steakhouse Among its many secrets contained therein is Mr Ha serving the rare Shao tzou fish from China Eaten the proper way this fish can produce certain varieties of ecstasy eaten the wrong way it can kill you Who would have guessed As it transpires this Chinese fish is a major player in the novel Michiko Encore Here s the last sentence from Ms Kakutani s first rate review Though there s plenty of suspense in this novel we don t keep reading because of plot pyrotechnics but because we ve come to care about what happens to poor Bill Wyeth and because Mr Harrison is a master of mood and atmosphere and he gives us in these pages a noirish New York that s at once recognizable as the day lighted city we all work in and as frightening as the nightmare place we all dreadNew York City author Colin Harrison Born 1960Suatting within the shadows of this rusting rushing superstructure are businesses that depend upon such a marginal location where rents are lower sualor ignored parking ample and unpoliced porn shops taxi garages car service offices and so on It s a bad zone it was here for example that a New York City policeman drinking for twelve hours after his shift ended some of that time in a strip joint ran over a pregnant Latina woman and her two children with his van going seventy miles an hour an event which for those who believe in such places sent four souls to heaven and one to the front page of the tabloids Colin Harrison The Havana Room

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The Havana Room

Lands him at the table of Allison Sparks the dangerously alluring owner of a midtown steakhouse She needs a personal favor of him to engineer a midnight trade off in a shady multimillion dollar real estate deal For a man with nothing left to lose the set u. I loved this book because of how different it is It has a masculine edge imagine a hazy cigar room in a steakhouse the dark feel of a Manhattan noir without being one note and I appreciated the philosophical echoes throughout The result is a page turner that s lyrical and moody Bonfire of the Vanities with a bit of The Firm and a dash of Cormac McCarthy all with an epigraph from Schopenhauer There are echoes of Gatsby a larger than life Jay observed through a narrator with trips from Manhattan to Long Island and a uest fueled by an irrational sense of yearning and hope Yet for all of these comparisons I felt Harrison achieved a mood and tone all his own Michiko Kakutani of the Times who scares the bejesus out of me said that Harrison combines a Balzacian eye for social detail and a poet s sense of mood which I think is exactly right

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P is too lucrative to refuse and like Allison too forbidden to resist But her favor draws him deeper into a web of sex deception and murder and to a secret place at the back of her restaurant the Havana Room where a man might find both evil and redemption.. I was skeptical about reading this book after reading Afterburn which started off fantastic then deteriorated into bleak masochism The Havana Room stays the course Colin Harrison is a smart writer this book is full of urban esoterica uite satisfying for a late night read If you enjoy mournful neo noir you don t really need a summary of the set up just jump in and enjoy


10 thoughts on “The Havana Room

  1. says:

    “Colin Harrison is trying to do for New York what Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy have done for Los Angeles map the sinister underbelly of the city the nexus of greed and lust and ambition that metastasizes there and its

  2. says:

    45 Stars Great storyteller I've read this author in the past but I had forgotten just how much I loved his novels I plan

  3. says:

    The book was not what I expected But right from the start because this noir mystery was set in New York City with the machismo factor set to high I knew Donald Trump would worm his way onto these pages And there he appears on page 121 when author Harrison shoehorns him into the near present day ramblings of his abbreviated history of Manhattan real estate the soaring gaudily crenellated edifice of Donald Trump's ego;The first chapter of t

  4. says:

    I loved this book because of how different it is It has a masculine edge imagine a hazy cigar room in a steakhouse the dar

  5. says:

    I loved this book and could not put it down For me the plot was not too far fetched to enjoy at all it was thrilling I thought the genius of it was that the tiniest little detail coincidence or with hindsight mistake can change a persons life forever It tells a colourful story and warns you of the fragility of life A stranger lent me this novel on along bus journey a few years ago and It is now my favourite

  6. says:

    So I'm in the airport about to board a flight and I go into one of those bookstores that usually has just the New York Times' top 20 bestsellers list My hope is to find a book that will at least engage me for the next three hours I ch

  7. says:

    This is the second book I read by Harrison first was Manhattan Nocturne and it did not disappoint I do not the patience for crappy choppy writing of many contemporary mystery writers as well as their two dimensional characters This

  8. says:

    Two stars is actually to much Yet it was better than one Started out like a dumb soap opera Sorry the part of killing a innocent kid cause this dork Bill was to lazy to wash his hands after eating greasy Thia food is a bit much After eating Bill who just arrived home late and all is asleep goes into watch some TV porn wanting to get his rocks off Then getting caught by this young man who is thirsty This silly fool get

  9. says:

    I was skeptical about reading this book after reading Afterburn — which started off fantastic then deteriorated into bleak masochism The Havana Room stays the course Colin Harrison is a smart writer; this book is full of urban esoterica uite satisfying for a late night read If you enjoy mournful neo noir you don't really

  10. says:

    An incredibly great writer one whose prose you can just roll around in writes another of his literary thrillers The first uarter or so is brilliant including his ruminations on the isle of Manhattan Few capture the essence of the c

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