Geoff Parkes

Helpful votes received on reviews: 88% (100 of 113)
Location: Hampshire, England

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Top Reviewer Ranking: 543,220 - Total Helpful Votes: 100 of 113
HAVANA RED by Leonardo Padura
HAVANA RED by Leonardo Padura
Havana Red - original title: `Mascara' (= `Mask') - is one of a quartet of detective novels featuring hard-drinking, angst-ridden detective Mario Conde, who'd really prefer to be a writer. After a transvestite is found strangled in Havana Woods, Conde and able sidekick Manuel Palacios set off on the trail of the killer. There is a rich cast of characters, and the pair have to contend with an ageing, ostracised gay writer, a diplomat, several thugs, an enigmatic but erudite housemaid, and police with dubious motives before solving the mystery.

The problem with this book is that it is so uneven. There is a strong storyline, and whenever the author focuses on the main plot, the book… Read more
Enduring Cuba (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) by Bran
This Cuba travelogue contains a mix of historical notes, interviews, descriptions of towns and journeys, and anecdotes about chance meetings. Places covered are mainly on the standard tourist route - Havana, Santiago, Baracoa, Trinidad, Viñales, etc. - plus a few like Cayo Sabinal that are not.

Of most interest are accounts of experiences that an average tourist would not have: seeing a cockfight, attending a santeria ceremony, talking to a fearful beleaguered journalist. For historical/factual sections, Ms Brān's research is sound but shows massive duplication of effort: you find the same information, often in more depth, in Moon Guide or Rough Guide to Cuba. She has… Read more
What I Did in Cuba by Paul Myers
What I Did in Cuba by Paul Myers
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This light-hearted travelogue documents a three-week journey spanning the turn of the year 1994/95, i.e. during the period of austerity dubbed the "Special Period" following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The main places covered are Havana, Varadero, Cayo Coco and Trinidad. Written in a racy, colloquial style, this short journal is one you can zoom through in an afternoon. Mr Myers and girlfriend Betty Boo suffered an extraordinary amount of bad luck. Paramount among their misfortunes was what he calls "kidnap", though what he describes is actually false imprisonment plus extortion. He also bemoans continual hunger, gristly meals, constant rip-offs, hustlers, abominable service, lack of… Read more