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Tropical Liaison by Richard S. Hillman

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Tropical LiaisonRichard Hillman’s book opens in a state of political unrest. Thirteen-year old Rafael is hiding in the attic of his parent’s home after the Security Polic arrive. He hears loud, horrible noises before the quiet. Going downstairs to investigate, he finds his parents’ bodies covered in blood. He escapes and goes to the Freedom Front’s encampment. Twenty-four years later, an election was held in the small fictional island of Guarida . Claudio Sanchez comes to power.

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Emmanuel White Vidal, Manny to his friends, is called to a meeting at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He is asked to go down to the University of Guarida for a couple of years and is told that there is a strong possibility his cousin Rafael, who’s been presumed to have died in a house fire along with his parents many years ago, is still alive. Manny agrees to go to Guarida and makes plans to search for his cousin.

Once arriving in Guarida, Manny notices a stranger watching him at the airport. He is curious as to why the man is watching him, but eventually puts it out of his mind and looks for the driver who is there to pick him up. Upon arriving at the university, he learns that it has been closed for a few days due to protesters. Already, he learns of political unrest in the country. Touring the city with his driver, he finds a place to rent and settles in.

At every turn, Manny’s idealism is challenged. He finds himself deceived by a charismatic president of oil-producing Guarida. Worse, he is manipulated by the US government, seduced by a beautiful escort, and tortured by local police. He escapes the police and finds his way to the Freedom Front’s encampment where he finds his cousin, Rafael. He must make a choice to save himself and his cousin by betraying his county or facing terrible consequences.

Hillman brings the twists and turns of the story in a dramatic climax. The author has extensive knowledge of U.S. relations with foreign countries which is demonstrated throughout the book. A very enjoyable read and I look forward to more novels written by Hillman.

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