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© Copyright 2023 by Noel Hynd

We came very, very close to nuclear war, closer than we knew at the time.”

—Robert McNamara (U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1962)

This was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was also the most dangerous moment in human history.

—Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Historian and advisor to John F. Kennedy)

 President Kennedy didn’t negotiate out of the Cuban missile crisis simply because he and Khrushchev got along well. Khrushchev didn’t have the cards.

—Colin Powell (US Secretary of State 2001-2005)


Part One

 Anatomy of a Crisis


Chapter 1

Miami – February 28, 1962


The poverty in Mexico that young Vladimir Borodin encountered as he grew up reinforced the beliefs he had learned and inherited from his father, Mikhail Borodin. The senior Borodin had been a personal and political friend of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Vladimir Lenin. The amity between Mikhail Borodin and Lenin, begun in the 1920s, would play out in the 1960s in ways neither man could ever have imagined.

Despite Borodin senior’s absence when Vladimir was growing up in Mexico, Vladimir became his father’s son in all ways. He even looked like the old man: thin with dark studious eyes and a mustache. Like his father, he excelled at languages. He read extensively in Spanish, Russian, and English. By the time he was sixteen, he was well known in the communist parties of North and Central America.

Well known and well liked. It was also known that he owned a gun, a powerful little piece that could blow a man’s head off at close range, though at longer range a bullet could easily drift off target. The weapon was a beautiful little assassination machine that Lenin had personally sent to his father.

It had an impressively engraved handle. In the smoothed area, the artist had inscribed the words, Terra y Libertad – E. Zapata. There was also – no larger than a thumbnail – a skillfully etched facial portrait of Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary leader: dark angry eyes, droopy mustache, and haloed by a sombrero. The initials V.L. also appeared, as in Vladimir Lenin.

Mikhail Borodin had been afraid to carry it when returning to Europe and hidden it in a sock. His son had found it. His mother had explained its significance. When Vladimir became politically active in his late teens, he boasted that he was “looking for an excuse to use it.”

The communist movement in Mexico staggered into the 1930s. It triggered the creation in 1933 of The Revolutionary Mexican Action, Acción Revolucionaria Mexicanista, better known as the Gold Shirts, Las Camisas Doradas, a Mexican fascist, ultra-nationalist, paramilitary organization, which operated in Mexico with Nazi German support. The organization sought to expel Chinese, Jews, and communists from Mexico. One night in 1936, the Gold Shirts staged a pogrom, a savage night in which the Camisas Doradas raided Jewish businesses, destroying them and attacking their owners – a Mexican version of Kristallnacht.

The government soon outlawed the group. Members went into exile in Texas or underground in Mexico. But there was another behind-the-scenes development that had a bearing on the future. There was a particularly aggressive member of the Gold Shirts who had led some of the raids in Vladimir’s neighborhood, a man named Oswaldo Miranda. Armed with a baseball bat, Miranda had fatally fractured the skull of a merchant who had always been friendly with Vladimir’s family, extending credit when needed.

In the days following the pogrom, Miranda wandered around the neighborhood taking credit for the attack. A week later, a thin young man with a mustache was waiting in the doorway when Miranda came home. The young man stepped from the shadows, poked an American pistol in Miranda’s face, and shot him between the eyes, blowing off the top half of his head. Over the course of the next week, some crazed, homicidal individual tracked down two of Miranda’s top associates. One was murdered in his bed as he slept next to his mistress. The assailant then shot another at a bus stop. Both victims died of single direct shots to the face from a vintage gun.

According to police informers, when Vladimir walked into his next cell meeting, no one said anything. There was a nervous silence. Then came a long round of spontaneous applause. Anyone in the room would have understood the principle. The revolution – for Marx, for Lenin, and for Vladimir Borodin – was the idea of an old mole that burrowed stealthily into the soil beneath the surface of history and occasionally popped its head out. It is the fantasy of those who rule that nothing will change. The old mole will appear when least expected.

During World War II, Mexico joined with the Allies in the war against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Mexico contributed resources and troops to the war effort. Yearning to fight, Vladimir joined the 201st Fighter Squadron, known in Mexico as la Escuadrón Aéreo de Pelea 201, the fighter squadron of the Mexican Air Force. It was part of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force that aided the Allied war effort during World War II. The squadron was known by the nickname Águilas Aztecas or “Aztec Eagles” and engaged in battle against Japan in the Philippines.

After World War II, Vladimir joined a group of Cuban exiles who were training in Mexico to overthrow the regime of the repressive Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista. The rebel leader was a former University of Havana radical and law student named Fidel Castro. Borodin and Castro struck up an alliance and a friendship, much as Borodin’s father had struck up a friendship with Lenin and later, Stalin. Word had reached Castro through underground sources that Borodin had murdered three Camisas Doradas big shots in Mexico. Borodin had use for such a man as Castro. And Castro – now known on the island and among exiles in Florida as El Comandante – liked the stories he had heard. He had uses for a man such as Vladimir Borodin.

Vladimir trained with Fidel’s rebels, then broke an ankle a week before the scheduled sailing to Cuba in December of 1956, an “unfortunate” event that may have saved his life. The invasion party sailed in the boat Granma from Tuxpan, Mexico to Santiago de Cuba. The Cuban Army had anticipated the landing and massacred the invaders on the beach when they arrived. Of the eighty-two men who landed, only twenty-six survived and escaped into the jungle. Among the twenty-six: Fidel and Raoul Castro, plus Che Guevara.

Months later, Vladimir Borodin made his way legally to Havana while the civil war was gaining momentum. He hung around the city for several weeks. He witnessed firsthand the wealth, corruption, and gangsterism at the lavish casinos and the poverty of the rest of the city. He saw how pretty, young women from Cuban peasant families made their way to the casinos, worked as hostesses, usherettes, and cigarette girls, and eventually were coerced into becoming mistresses or prostitutes for American and European gangsters.

Sometimes, his fury and brazenness outshone his professionalism. One evening in November of 1958, he watched from a table at the Tropicana Hotel as an American gangster, Freddie Torrio, a top associate of Santo Trafficante, beat a Cuban waitress in a casino hallway after ripping her clothes halfway off and forcing sex on her. No one intervened to help her.

Borodin memorized Torrio’s face. Memorizing faces was something he had learned to do very well over the years, partly out of self-preservation, and partly out of dedication to his cause. Borodin stalked Torrio. Stalking a future victim was another useful thing he had learned over the years.

Four nights later, Borodin was waiting when Torrio parked his aqua Cadillac near a downscale hole-in-the-wall bar that he owned. Borodin walked up to him, gave him a friendly nod, a smile, and a tip of the fedora. “Buenas noches, Don Frederico,” Borodin said as obsequiously as possible. A short humble bow accompanied the salutation.

Torrio, a genial fellow when he wasn’t busy with being a monster, gave Borodin a polite nod in return, using his gun-side hand to tip his cap in return. When the men came within arm’s length of each other, Borodin whipped out his engraved pistol and fired a single thirty-eight caliber bullet into Torrio’s right ear. He kicked Torrio in the ribs and head when the victim fell. Then Borodin escaped into traffic, leaving Torrio’s twisted, bloodied, decapitated body on the sidewalk; the capo’s brains spilled in pieces on the Havana street.

Noel Hynd with American C-53 in background in Palm Springs, California. This aircraft performed in the invasion of Normandy in 1944 and the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49.

Borodin had a remarkable skill for turning up at a time and place when he would be least expected. A week later, Borodin gained admission to the home of a man named Miguel “Big Mike” Valdez, a pro-Batista leader of a local street militia.

Batista had asked Valdez to find the killer of the good Señor Torrio.

Borodin had entered the home where Valdez lived alone through a dark basement window with a faulty latch in the rear of the small house. Borodin came stealthily up into the man’s kitchen. There, his nerves ice-cold in a sweltering small space, he patiently lurked for two hours. When Valdez returned home by himself at one AM, as was his pattern, he went to his kitchen. There, thirsty for a cold bottle of beer, he flicked on an overhead light. He was stunned to find himself confronted by a stranger with a mustache and a Habana Azucaros baseball cap pulled down over his dark eyes.

The intruder’s arm was extended forward. A compact pistol was pointed eye-high at Valdez’s head. “Buenas noches, Don Miguel,” Borodin intoned. Borodin’s angry face was the last thing Mike Valdez ever saw. Borodin pulled the trigger twice after less than a half second of fierce eye contact. He fired so fast that Valdez took two bullets to the face, splattering blood, bones, and brains all over the small kitchen. The body would not be discovered for three days.

It had been a superb week for the old mole, and not so good for the corrupt, oppressive powers that ran Havana. Vladimir Borodin had gone underground, like the cagey rodent after which he had fashioned himself. Batista’s security forces looked everywhere but came up empty. It was impossible to find a man when they didn’t even know for whom they were searching.



Chapter 2

Miami Beach – February & March 1962


On a national level, the Miami FBI outpost was usually out of public view, but it had had its moments in the spotlight. In 1929, the same year that J. Edgar Hoover became director of the Bureau, the Miami FBI operation – which was then only a sub-office of the state headquarters in Jacksonville – was on the front pages of all the major newspapers. Its agents had busted Chicago mobster Al Capone for skipping out on a bench warrant.

Capone owned a home in Miami, a gated mansion that had been financed in Chicago by syphilis-riddled bordellos, illegal distilleries, breweries, Tommy guns, floors slippery with blood, and bodies weighted with car parts so that they would sink into Lake Michigan. Aspiring to be a model citizen in Florida, however, Big Al claimed – with a grin, a laugh, and a wink – that he had ignored a subpoena because he had been at his home indisposed with pneumonia.

But a pair of sharp-eyed Miami FBI busybodies named Jansen and Parker had spotted Scarface at the Hialeah racetrack, hanging around the $50 WIN window with an entourage of bodyguards and hookers. Big Al was hard to miss at such venues. Agents followed him and arrested him. Ever afterward in the Miami office, agents and administrators often spoke of the “Hialeah moment,” that big-time payoff for being out and around, watching the wind blow, and seeing something that might lead to something bigger: like a major case or the resolution thereof.

In 1936, J. Edgar Hoover decided that Miami needed its own office. Capone had long since departed for the federal prison system. But the city was young and booming, its population growing – and with it, a criminal element, both homegrown and imported. The state was popular for mobsters on holidays and also for interstate prostitution and kidnapping. A hideous case occurred in 1938 when a five-year-old boy named Jimmy Cash was kidnapped and murdered.

The Miami Division of the FBI investigated the incident and turned over information and evidence to its partners. Less than two weeks after the abduction, agents arrested a dumb, lowbrow degenerate named Franklin Pierce McCall. McCall pled guilty to the crime and took a seat in Florida’s electric chair less than a year later. The Special Agents in the Miami office stood tall in the press and received the adulation of America as Franklin Pierce McCall grilled like a freshly hooked pompano. In D.C., Hoover beamed with pride.

The Bureau had also performed well during World War II.

In June 1942, a team of Nazi saboteurs came ashore in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, near Jacksonville. Acting on a tip from a patriotic tattletale, FBI agents from the Miami FBI office located the explosives and supplies that the Nazis had buried on the beach. The investigation in Miami helped other agents track the saboteurs from Florida to Chicago and New York, where they were arrested within days. Throughout the war, the Miami office kept busy tracking reports of possible enemy landings, flashing lights off the coast, and submarine sightings. The music never stopped. The Miami office grew tough and experienced along with the city.

By the time of Tom Buchanan’s arrival in February 1962, the Miami headquarters was one of the busiest offices in the United States. It was packed with nearly two hundred special agents and support personnel. They were stuffed like sardines into a rambling suite of offices on the fifth floor of a WPA building that had been in use during the Jimmy Cash abduction of 1938.

Increasingly, their assignments touched upon white-collar crime, gunrunning, and espionage – Cuban and Russian mostly, plus anything else that fell into their laps – that might otherwise have gone to the CIA, but which also touched upon domestic security. Cases with a Havana flavor didn’t stop. Any small tidbit acquired by agents was helpful. Hialeah moments, after all. Tom knew all about such moments from having touched base in Miami after leaving Cuba following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion less than a year earlier. Hence, when he attended something like a high-profile prize fight, for example, he kept his eyes open, watching both what was going on in the ring and everywhere else around him.


Chapter 3

New York City –  February & March 1962


Ann Buchanan’s most recent gig on Broadway, a supporting role in a romantic comedy called Honeymoon Hotel, directed by Ray Hargrove, had ended in January. The FBI had assigned Tom to Manhattan during her run with the show. It had been a curiosity within the Bureau to have an agent with a wife who had a high-profile career. When the show wasn’t drawing at capacity, the producers would let Ann know that “comps” were available. She would advise Tom. The comps were fine seats, usually sixth to eighth row, just off-center.

Tom would pass the comps along on the hush-hush to other agents so that the other agents and their wives could have a night out that they might otherwise not be able to afford. A backstage pass was always included. The Feds and their wives loved meeting Broadway actors. Broadway actors loved meeting real live Feds. One hand washed the other. It all worked out.

In Washington, J. Edgar Hoover had liked the idea. Hoover had taken an odd platonic liking to Ann. Ann could barely tolerate the man and privately had an armada of acerbic nicknames for him. But her thespian skills were excellent even in personal affairs. She put up with Hoover much the way many people did, usually more out of caution than in admiration. It helped her husband’s career, which was important.

From time to time Mr. G-Man visited New York at the last minute and hit on the producers for four to eight freebies per visit to the show. Despite a few grumbles, the producers obliged. The presence of Hoover attending the show with big-shot law enforcement officers put the show’s name in the Broadway newspaper columns: Walter Winchell. Earl Wilson. Ed Sullivan. Often there were photo opportunities as well.

Once, Hoover invited Tom and Ann to come up to the Stork Club on West Fifty-Eighth Street after a Friday night performance. Ann was asked to “bring along some dames from the show.” There was no shortage of volunteers. She brought four. Tom smelled some fine publicity photos from the get-go.

Sure enough, at half an hour past midnight, one of Mr. Hoover’s assistants, an affable, dandified, senior agent in the New York office named Donald Meade, was suddenly front and center out of nowhere. Meade was an old racetrack buddy of Mr. Hoover. He no longer worked on any cases but remained on the Bureau payroll and was always unavoidable at social events. He made his way over to Tom’s table.

“Hello, Don,” Tom said.

“Nice to see you, Tom. The director would like to briefly enjoy your wife.”

“Well, who wouldn’t?” Buchanan said. He nodded to Ann, who gave Tom’s shoulder a tap and a wink as she rose to follow.

Meade also rounded up the four other overanxious women and brought them to Hoover’s corner table. There JEH sat with his partner and assistant director, Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s hand on Tolson’s shoulder. The director was gloriously intoxicated and in high spirits. Tom observed from a safe distance.

Ann slid onto J. Edgar’s expansive lap, subtly wiggled into a position of comfort, and channeled her inner Marlene Dietrich. She hoisted her skirt up to her mid-thigh, one stockinged leg folded back, the other with the toe pointing toward the ceiling, and puckered her lips at the photographers. The other girls huddled around behind the seated couple and gave their best stage smiles. The director excitedly drew his pistol, which was always loaded according to Bureau gossip. He pointed his pistol in the air but fortunately didn’t pull the trigger.

“Everyone ready?” Don Meade asked. Everyone was.

The press photographers snapped away, as did several tourists, flash bulbs filling the air. A round of applause and approval rolled around the room like a wave.

Hoover looked for a final embrace from Ann as she hopped off his lap. She obliged with a kiss on JEH’s forehead, then friskily escaped. She returned to her place at Tom’s table.

“Sorry about that,” she said.

I should apologize to you,” he said.

“Did it bother you?” she asked. “Tell me honestly.”

“I knew what was coming,” Tom answered as he sipped a drink. “Nah! I’m fine.”

Ann lit a cigarette. “God,” she muttered in an amused but woeful tone, never losing the smile in case anyone important was watching. She smoked.

A moment. Then, through lips loosened by a base curiosity courtesy of a complimentary double martini, “May I ask a question that only a husband might pose?” Tom asked.

“Of course.” Finding her glass empty, she reached toward Tom’s glass to refresh herself. She drained it.

“When you or any of the other girls you know indulge him in those photo shoots,” Tom asked, “does Mr. G-Man ever get a hard-on?”

“Not that I’ve ever noticed and not that I’ve ever heard. And believe me, it’s the type of thing an upstanding girl like your adoring wife would notice, don’t you think?” Ann blew out a playful stream of smoke at Tom. “How’s that, Mr. Detective?”

“That’s fine,” he said.

“Does it help you in the Bureau?” she asked, shifting the subject slightly. “‘Press porn’ like that? Indulging him? My legs in the air in Walter Winchell’s column? Cheesecake pix?”

“So far, it doesn’t hurt,” he answered. “Look, tomorrow that picture is on the wire services and pops up in three hundred papers in the United States, along with your name and the words Heartbreak Hotel. You’re happy, Hoover’s happy, the producers are happy, the girls standing behind you are happy, the photographers are happy, their photo editors are happy, you get the publicity, and J. Edgar thinks I’m a good guy for sharing my wife for a few minutes so he looks butch. Everyone wins.”

“Hurray for us. That’s what I wanted to hear,” Ann said. She leaned to her husband and gave him a more meaningful and suggestive kiss than Mr. G-Man had received.

When her most recent Broadway show closed in January of 1962 after a successful run, Ann was happy to have some downtime. Within another thirty days, however, an opportunity emerged for Tom. The Special Agent in Charge at the Manhattan FBI Headquarters, Ian Fredrickson, called him into his office late on a Friday and asked him how he would feel about a temporary assignment to Florida.

“Where in Florida?” Tom asked.

“Miami. Know the city?”

“Some,” Tom said.

“Your c.v. says you speak Spanish. That’s correct, isn’t it?”

“I don’t speak it natively, but I do okay.”

“Just ‘okay’? Experience in Spain and Cuba, if I recall,” Frederickson said.

“You recall correctly.” A pause, then, “Okay. More than okay. I’m a little rusty in Spanish but my guess is it will come back pronto.”

“The Miami Bureau has a shortage of agents who can even say or no. They’ll even take a non-Latin if you know how to order a taco from a truck. How’s that?”

“Good for starters.”

“The bureau chief’s name is Michael O’Sullivan. He says you’ve met. He likes you.”

“We’ve met and I’m flattered,” Tom answered. “O’Sullivan’s a tough cookie.”

“The assignment comes with a promotion, a fifteen percent raise, housing allowance, and a strong suggestion from Mr. Hoover that you might be highly useful there. There’s a lot of bad stuff happening in Miami.”

“Anything new about that?”

Fredrickson shrugged. “Nope. Only the amount.”

“I can take a hint.”

“Does that mean yes? I’m hoping it does.”

“It means I talk to Ann, and I give you an answer on Monday morning.”

A moment of thought from Fredrickson. It was not the answer he wanted but it was close enough. “All right,” he said. “Talk to the missus very sweetly.”

“I always do,” Tom said, standing. “Anything else?”

“If there was, I wouldn’t have stopped talking,” Fredrickson said. “Now, scram,” he concluded, giving Buchanan a funereal smile and indicating the door.

Over the weekend Tom talked to his missus.

Ann had her hesitations about a move to Miami. She had never much cared for Miami and was starting to get itchy about getting back on stage or in front of a movie camera. But there was nothing on the horizon for her professionally right now. If a producer offered the right project to her, she might have to revise her thinking, she said to Tom. He understood that.

So Ann said yes, for the near future at least. And with the raise, why not?


Chapter 4

Miami Beach – February 28, 1962


Tom and Ann Buchanan were living in a temporary but comfortable one-bedroom apartment, though they longed to buy a home somewhere. The unit was in a modern building in a sound neighborhood. All the units had air conditioning, and there was a sizeable pool in the rear patio. Ann liked to sit in the pool area and sunbathe, swim laps, and read her way through the New York Times Best Seller list. Tom enjoyed the pool, too, when he could, which often meant late evening after he returned home from Bureau duty. The pool closed at eleven, but he and Ann and some other younger couples often sneaked in for frisky late swims, frequently after midnight. Tom, Ann, and the other couples kept the late fun quiet. The moonlight swimmers refrained from overt displays of affection, or more, in the pool, and no one complained. Activity in the pool was shrouded from view from the overhead apartment windows by a stand of well-positioned palm trees, happily for everyone, but genteel codes of conduct prevailed.

On this day at the end of February, Tom had scored tickets in the third row at the west end of the boxing ring at the smoky, stuffy Convention Hall at Seventeenth Street and Washington. The tickets were great comps via the Miami FBI office. Never mind that the hall stank of stale beer and a thick cloud of cigar smoke hung over the center of the ring. It was no place for a lady, but there were many ladies in attendance, even in the expensive five-dollar ringside seats.

Special Agent Tom Wysocki, who had been holding the February 28 tickets, was injured while on duty that Tuesday: a broken arm while executing an arrest warrant on an extortionist. Other agents either had plans or didn’t care for boxing. Tom had many friends at the Miami office by now and Special Agent Mike Lerner – one of Tom’s occasional partners in the busy Miami office – had phoned Tom before work early the morning of the event.

Tom took the welcome phone call at home before leaving for work. He was reading the local newspapers after breakfast and Ann was in the shower. Tom didn’t even have to turn around and ask his wife if she wanted to go. Ann loved boxing. It was a now-and-again addiction that was going full throttle in the early months of 1962.

When performing in shows on Broadway in New York she had occasionally gone to events at Madison Square Garden, sometimes with Tom and sometimes with cast members or other friends in entertainment. She had seen the great fighters of the time: Sugar Ray Robinson, Gene Fullmer, Carmen Basilio, plus other curious pieces of human flesh and a bunch of lesser palookas who had been served up more times than fish on Fridays. Inevitably, the great ones and the not-so-great all fought at the decaying Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue between West Forty-Ninth and Fiftieth Streets.

Tom Buchanan a rarity among agents on the FBI payroll in that he had international experience, both in Europe and the Caribbean. It gave him a special niche of assignments that allowed him to work with some independence within the Bureau. In other words, he was always an asset to whichever office he was assigned. He had worked for Presidents Truman, a Democrat, and Eisenhower, a Republican. He could be plugged into major investigations without bringing a political bias to them or screwing anything up.

Late that January, a case had come to the attention of the FBI in Miami concerning three hundred Soviet-made automatic rifles that had been seized from a Panamanian ship in Miami harbor. The weapons had been destined for Castro-inspired Marxist rebels in Nicaragua. The U.S. government had sent the seized weapons to an arsenal in Alabama where no sooner had they been inventoried than they were stolen. Now, some shadowy arms dealer who went by the name of M.A. Dulzaides – believed to be Cuban, but who knew? – had put out feelers in Miami to sell arms.

M.A. Dulzaides. Who the hell was M.A. Dulzaides?

Tom didn’t know after his first weeks of investigation, and no one else did, either. There was a handful of listings in the Miami phone book for that name and each was traced down. No M.A. emerged, though Tom and his various partners were chasing down every lead, no matter how modest. They had run checks through all the available criminal directories in the Western Hemisphere also. Still, a big nada.

Worse, no one knew whether the elusive Señor Dulzaides was looking to sell to anti-Castro people or pro-Castro people who wanted to contribute to Cuban “self-defense.” Uncle Sam had invaded the island recently after all, as well as several times in the past, and was damned well likely to do it again. So went the conventional wisdom. Tom was in town to quietly sort things out, snuff out any criminal conspiracy if there was one, and make whatever arrests were necessary. It was half-counterespionage mission and half-criminal mission, half in English and half in Spanish, half-urgent and half-slow development. For Tom, there were also two personal halves: it was a living and it was an assignment.

Combating the illegal arms trade was more dangerous than Tom allowed Ann to know, lest it trigger the on-again-off-again discussions they sometimes had about him leaving the FBI. The conflict had its lethal side that dwarfed all the other crimes the FBI fought. But here was a mission Tom Buchanan could sink his teeth into. It wasn’t easy and it was nerve-wracking. Agents and informers from the Miami bureau had died for less, and the world had somehow become a more vicious place than ever since the end of World War II. The case lay on his psyche like a hot, wet rag.

Miami in particular had its own pounding, overheated craziness. Tom knew every day that some unseen malefactor or executioner could step out of the shadows and shoot him.

No warning, no question asked. Just…bang!

Miami underworld style, even if the execution order came from overseas. A bullet to the back of the neck. Or between the eyes.

Then, perhaps just for sport or to warn off other nosy investigators, a second shot to make things sure. More than a few bodies – mostly men but a few women, mostly white but a few of color – had washed up on Miami beaches in the last year. Bloated corpses. Throats cut. Bullets in the back. Parts of skulls blasted away. Bullets from unusual guns point-blank in the face. Genitals butchered.  Grisly remains mutilated by marine life. Gang stuff. Extreme political stuff. The grave was a peaceful resting place after a murder and a maritime voyage.

The vibes in the city were palpable. On the surface, the city was still a destination for heartland tourists or aging snowbirds from the North. Beneath the surface, an uneasy dark malaise had wrapped its ominous arms around the city. This was largely due to the international winds of potential war that had been blowing in from Havana since Fidel Castro’s revolutionary forces had rolled into Havana in January 1959.

Half the population simmered from the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and the other half seethed. In South Florida, most people blamed Jack Kennedy. The city was an art deco tinderbox. Something worse than a hurricane was still blowing north from Cuba and everyone knew it.



Noel Hynd has written more than thirty novels and works of non-fiction, published by Doubleday, Dell, Kensington, Tor, Pinnacle and Bantam, among others.

He is best known for a unique voice and style in espionage fiction. He writes tough, realistically-detailed historical thrillers set in the middle part of the twentieth century – such as Flowers From Berlin and Truman’s Spy. His works are character-driven, focused on the men and women of the era. They are so intertwined with the politics and events of the 1940’s, ‘50’s and ‘60’s, that it is almost impossible to tell what’s real and what’s fiction.

“Noel Hynd knows the ins and outs of Washington’s agencies,” wrote Publisher’s  Weekly. “A few notches above the Ludlums and Clancys of the world,” added Booklist. He has been on the USA Today Best Sellers list and the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” list. The New York Times also called his work, “Bloody good!”

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he lives in southern California with his wife and three cats.

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