Thursday, February 24, 2011
First review in for THE CAMELOT CONSPIRACY!
The Camelot Conspiracy
E. Duke Vincent
May 2011, Overlook
An action novel from veteran TV writer and producer Vincent (Mafia Summer, 2005, etc.) about the Kennedy assassination.
With a cast of Mafia dons, politicians, the CIA, the FBI and a snake's nest of anti- and pro-Castro Cubans, the novel piles conspiracy atop conspiracy. It's 1959, and communist Castro has overthrown Batista. Eisenhower plans an invasion by anti-Castro elements. JFK gives the go-ahead but ruins the plan by seeking "plausible deniability." Next come plots, schemes and covert missions to assassinate Castro: by the Mafia, which wants its Havana casinos back; by anti-Castro elements who want their country back; and by the CIA, which wants a Soviet ally overthrown. Vincent relates the story in dozens of short, one-scene chapters covering everything from the failed Bay of Pigs invasion to the Cuban Missile Crisis. His knowledge of mobsters and bureaucrats, and the ugly underbelly of glitzy places like Las Vegas and Miami, lends an air of believability. The protagonist is Dante Amato, war hero turned mafioso with a CIA agent brother. Amato makes two forays into Cuba attempting to kill Castro, one accompanied by the beautiful Cuban refuge Marissa del Valle, a Bryn Mawr graduate willing to bed Fidel if the assignation presents an opportunity to poison him. Vincent does a fine job of moving the bull’s-eye from Castro to JFK, conjuring up the blood-lust resentment of mobster Sam Giancana, who delivered Chicago for the Kennedy campaign, only to be pursued even more fanatically by Robert Kennedy. Characterizations are generally superficial, with Dante realistically amoral rather than heroic, but the author makes intriguing use of historical characters, including E. Howard Hunt, CIA operative turned Watergate burglar.
Thrillers thrive on a conspiracy burning away like a fuse on a bomb. With this novel, Vincent strikes a fictional match and explodes the supposed cover-ups, machinations and disinformation surrounding the Kennedy assassination.