Mongoose R.I.P. - A Blackford Oakes Novel
William F. Buckley Jr.
Random House, 1987, 320 pp
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Young CIA agent, Blackford Oakes, recently sprung from a Cuban prison where he was under sentence of death, is called to a special meeting with his superior, Rufus, and fellow agent Anthony Trust. It is early January 1963 and the meeting is being held on a Sunday at Rufus's country cottage in Maryland. After having Oaks and Trust review documents outlining previous attempts to date to have the Mafia assassinate Fidel Castro, Rufus announces that he has just been asked to take charge of Operation Mongoose a secret operation that was created in November 1961 for the purpose of assassinating Castro. The person asking him to take over the operation was none other than the Attorney General of the United States, Robert F. Kennedy.
While Rufus and his team try to put together a workable plan that will both eliminate Castro and replace him with someone who will be able to move Cuba toward democracy, others in the CIA are coming up with wild schemes to do Castro in. Among these are plans to have a visiting diplomat present Castro, a scuba diving enthusiast, with a diving suit impregnated with a poison to be absorbed through the skin and another plan to have a former mistress of Castro return to Cuba and poison him during a break in lovemaking. Strangely, these two schemes were not dreamed up by Buckley but were real operations that were disclosed during the Watergate hearings along with other plots initiated by the Kennedy brothers, to assassinate Castro. As Blackford moves between Miami, Mexico City and Cuba attempting to carry out the President's wishes, relations between the U.S. and Cuba disintegrate into a personal feud between Kennedy and Castro. As Blackford moves Operation Mongoose forward, Castro, aware that Kennedy is trying to have him killed, begins looking for ways to have Kennedy killed. When a former U.S. Marine now living in Dallas, Texas visits the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City with a plan to assassinate Kennedy and a Cuban intelligence officer discovers the location of a missile with a nuclear warhead that the Soviets have secretly kept in Cuba following the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro puts together a plan that he is certain will guarantee Kennedy's death.
The review of this Book prepared by Chuck Nugent