- Paperback: 290 pages
- Published: 5/1/01
- IBSN: 9781888451160
- e-IBSN: 9781617750847
- Genre: Fiction
More Cuban noir from Akashic! (Following the success of Outcast by José Latour—nominated for Edgar, Anthony and Firecracker awards.)
“Daniel Chavarría has long been recognized as one of Latin America’s finest writers. Now he again proves why with Adios Muchachos, a comic mystery peopled by a delightfully mad band of miscreants, all of them led by a woman you will not soon forget—Alicia, the loveliest bicycle whore in all Havana.”
—Edgar Award-winning author William Heffernan
“Celebrated in Latin America for his noir detective fiction, Uruguayan author Chavarría makes his English-language debut with this fast-paced novel, set in Cuba. Featuring Alicia, a bicycle-riding prostitute, and Victor, a Canadian financier with a shady past and a few current secrets, Adios Muchachos spins the tale of a caper gone awry, where no one is particularly bad and everyone is on the take. Castro’s Havana has not appeared this sunny in many years, nor have its crooks been this good-natured. There is an accidentally dead Dutch millionaire, a man with a nose so large that he wears a mask to hide it when he makes love, a recipe for smoked eels in mango sauce, and a defective Chinese bicycle. Mixed together, these ingredients make a zesty Cuban paella of a novel that’s impossible to put down. This is a great read, recommended for public libraries.”
—Andrea Caron Kempf, Library Journal
“Out of the mystery wrapped in an enigma that, over the last forty years, has been Cuba for the US, comes a Uruguayan voice so cheerful, a face so laughing, and a mind so deviously optimistic that we can only hope this is but the beginning of a flood of Latin America’s indomitable novelists, playwrights, storytellers. Welcome, Daniel Chavarría.”
—Donald Westlake, author of Trust Me on This
“Daniel Chavarría is a prince of a fellow, larger than life and twice as much fun.”
—Lawrence Block, author of Eight Million Ways to Die
“If for no other reason than Daniel Chavarría and his picaresque novels of money, sex, and crime in Havana, this U.S. embargo against Cuba must end forthwith. In Adios Muchachos, Señor Chavarría offers up European millionaires grubbing for ever more riches, wily ocean salvers hunting for gold in long-sunken Spanish galleons, and murder most foul and deliciously bloody. For extra measure, there is the considerable charm and ingenuity of an erotic scamp by the name of Alicia. I recommend that we all do as Fidel likely does: light up a cigar and turn Chavarria’s pages, with pleasure.”
—Thomas Adcock, Edgar Award-winning author of Grief Street
“Pulp fiction in Castro’s Cuba. A picaresque novel with sex, scheming, and, well, more sex.”
—Martin Cruz Smith, author of Havana Bay
The first suspense novel in English-translation by internationally acclaimed Uruguayan mystery writer Daniel Chavarría, Adios Muchachos is a dark, erotic, brutally funny romp through the sexual underworld and black-market boardrooms of post-Cold War Cuba. Seen through Chavarría’s compassionate but uncompromising eyes, present-day Havana is a crossroads for petty hustlers looking for an easy mark, two-time losers looking for a fresh start, and high-rolling international speculators looking to take advantage of them all.
The novel describes the ill-fated alliance between Alicia, a stunningly beautiful prostitute who openly displays her voluptuous wares by bicycle on the city streets, and Victor King, a desperately ambitious Canadian businessman with an enormous appetite for kinky sex and buried treasure—and a striking resemblance to movie star Mel Gibson.
Following an early erotic entanglement of their own, Victor hires Alicia to lure a series of handsome lovers into the bedroom of his estate for the voyeuristic gratification of his mysterious wife, Elizabeth, who watches the action with her husband through a two-way mirror. After a sultry drunken dance results in the accidental death of Victor’s wealthy Dutch business partner, Rieks Groote, Victor sees his ambitions for wealth suddenly go up in smoke and Alicia faces the end to her dreams of escaping her dreary, dead-end life on the island.
Hustlers all the way, the two quickly decide to turn disaster into opportunity, hiding the body in a freezer and hatching an elaborate kidnapping scheme that will allow them to steal millions of dollars from the Groote family and start a new life together off the island. Through a series of startling plot twists and slapstick misadventures, Victor and Alicia find themselves unwittingly manipulated and ultimately outmaneuvered by a sympathetic fellow hustler. In the end, everything revolves around the secret ingredient to an old family recipe and a long-overdue nose job—as only one of the novel’s characters is able to make off with the loot and bid “adios” to Cuba and the past.
DANIEL CHAVARRÍA is a Uruguayan writer with two passions: classical literature and prostitutes. For years he was a professor of Latin, Greek, and classical literature, devoting much of his time and energy to researching the origins and evolution of prostitution. He has won numerous literary awards around the world, including the 1992 Dashiell Hammett Award and the 2001 Edgar Allan Poe Award. His novels include Adios Muchachos, The Eye of Cybele, and Tango for a Torturer.