Customer Reviews for

A Fine and Dangerous Season

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
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  • Posted August 14, 2012

    I just finished A Fine and Dangerous Season. This is the fourth

    I just finished A Fine and Dangerous Season. This is the fourth book I have read from Mr. Raffel. Once again he nailed it. I could not put it down. I had to see how this one ended....from the first paragraph. I think this is his first work of historical fiction and the attention to detail was outstanding. You really feel like you have been taken back in time....twice.

    A treat to see authors like this continue to get it right and entertain us. Thank you sir!

    Kevin

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Let me tell you the novelty of being cold and in the dark wears

    Let me tell you the novelty of being cold and in the dark wears off after just a few days. Keeping sane during eleven days without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy required a lot of patience, a good supply of batteries for my radio and LED lantern light, and my Kindle, which I could recharge during nightly trips into town to forage for a restaurant with power and food.

    This brings me to Keith Raffel’s "A Fine and Dangerous Season", set during the Cuban Missile Crisis fifty years ago. This is Raffel’s first foray into the genre of the historical novel. Already a fan having enjoyed his three thrillers, I got what I expected: a taught, fast paced mystery with just the right quota of plot twists and turns. But "A Fine and Dangerous Season" is much more. It has a can’t-put-it-down aspect which was just perfect for getting me through a couple of long nights.

    In retrospect this is surprising and a testament to Raffel’s story-telling talents because, after all, I already knew how the major story arc would turn out. Spoiler alert! The United States and the Soviet Union did not destroy the world in an exchange of nuclear missiles. It’s hard to write about a world well known to the reader and not make a mistake. How long did it take to fly from coast to coast in 1962? Could you really buy a Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer in the 1940’s? What streets do you pass getting from the White House to the Soviet Embassy? As far as I can tell the minutia is right on target.

    I don’t want to spoil the suspense for you by talking too much about the plot. Suffice it to say Raffel puts us right in the middle of the crisis negotiations through the instrument of an everyman who happens to have been a school chum of President John Kennedy who also happens to have a contact which proves invaluable to the President and the nation. It may seem a stretch but that is the beauty of the conceit. Years after the crisis it was revealed that a news reporter named John Scali played a similar go-between role.

    "A Fine and Dangerous Season" is Raffel’s best to date and I highly recommend it. Even if the power is on at your house!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2012

    Great read.

    Hard to put down. Very believable plot, reads as if it could be true. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    Really good book.

    As a 10 year old child, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a very scary time. My youngish adult children do not understand how it felt to have air raid sirens going off, evacuation practices from the elementary schools, worrying you would never see your family again and bomb shelters being built. This book brought back some of those frightening memories. It was a very impressive and hard to put down book. It made me think about JFK in a different way. I recommend it to anyone interested in that period of history or someone who likes mystery and intrigue.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2012

    Keith Raffel's latest, A Fine and Dangerous Season, has one of t

    Keith Raffel's latest, A Fine and Dangerous Season, has one of the most unique premises that I've seen. The story takes place in October of 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nathan Michaels, who is a business executive at Hewlett Packard (yes, HP has been around for awhile), gets a call from Bobby Kennedy that JFK wants to see him right away. How does JFK know Nathan, who is from Palo Alto and has always lived in the Palo Alto area? Well, there's a little-known fact about JFK; namely, he went to Stanford in the fall quarter of 1940 and was enrolled in the business school. Raffel uses that information to create a story centered on their brief relationship. Pretty clever, eh?

    While JFK was at Stanford, he was introduced to Nathan by Nathan's girlfriend, Miriam. Nathan and JFK become pretty close - until JFK makes a bad judgment call, in Nathan's estimation, and their relationship ends. Now, 22 years later, Bobby calls Nathan and says that his brother needs Nathan to fly to D.C. immediately. Well, when the leader of the free world asks you to come see him, there's only 1 response that you can make - Nathan tells Bobby that he has no interest in seeing JFK, and the answer is no. Obviously, Bobby convinces Nathan of the error of his thinking (otherwise there would be no story!), and Nathan ends up catching the next flight out to Washington.

    What could Nathan possibly do to help JFK resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis, you ask? It turns out that a Russian diplomat, Maxim Volkov, who the U.S. knows is a KGB honcho, has recently come to D.C. and is staying at the Russian consulate. Volkov was a close friend of Nathan's father up until 1942 and spent many evenings at the Michaels' house. Now, 20 years later, even though Nathan's father is dead, Volkov wants to meet with Nathan. JFK sees this as an opportunity to find out what the USSR is planning on doing about Cuba and maybe even help reduce the tensions between the 2 countries through Nathan and Volkov.

    Of course, things do not go particularly smoothly. To begin with, Nathan is still feeling very resentful toward JFK. That makes for some uncomfortable moments. On top of that, there are people on both sides who do not want to see the 2 countries kiss and make up. The U.S. military is itching for a fight and wants to use Cuba as the battleground. At the same time, the USSR, with Kruschev, still has visions of world dominance. With the Cold War in full swing, it does not look good for a peaceful resolution.

    On top of all the diplomacy and behind-the-scenes meetings (Nathan sits in on high-level confabs - both with and without JFK), there is also a lot of action, with attempts on the lives of both Nathan and Volkov. The book has a number of historical figures in it besides Bobby and JFK - Curtis LeMay and Robert McNamara, among others - and mixes Nathan in with all of them in an extremely effective way. This book is interesting and exciting - a good combination. For me, I was 13 years old during the Cuban Missile Crisis (you can probably do the math, if you care one way or the other). I really enjoyed learning more intimate details of what went on during those few days. Having majored in history at UC Berkeley (that certainly led to a lot of job opportunities - just kidding), and loving historical fiction, this book appealed to me on a number of different levels - including the fact that it's very well-written. Without that, the rest of it doesn't really matter.

    This is Keith's 4th book. The first 2, Dot Dead and Smasher, take place in Palo Alto, The 3rd, Drop by Drop, comes from Washington D.C. and modern-day. And now, A Fine and Dangerous Season is also in D.C., just 50 years earlier. As I mentioned when I reviewed Drop by Drop a few months ago, Keith's writing gets better with each book. This is definitely my favorite of his 4, for all of the aforementioned (I like that word) reasons.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    OUTSTANDING

    Just finished "One Fine and Dangeous Day". It was excellent. Very good mystery/adventure store tied into the history of 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crissis.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    I found this novel interesting and reasonably accurate historica

    I found this novel interesting and reasonably accurate historically. It took me back to my graduate student days when I worked for what was then the National Bureau of Standards in Washington D.C. I remember looking up at the sky, wondering if I would hear the explosion if a missile hit, or would be annihilated instantly. It was a scary time. I found the characters in the novel to be excellent, although I would have enjoyed even more depth.in their personalities. I had not known about JFKs time at Stanford, but found out that he had indeed spent some time there. I liked the way the author wrote so much that I bought and have since read another of his novels, which I also thoroughly enjoyed, and I plan to read more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Great action and intrigue for anyone who likes fiction mystery.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Jai

    "Wow. Zane has bronchitis."

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    A very entertaining and exciting tale from recent history.

    This book is so full of real people and factual information that it's easy to forget it's fiction. It's a very suspenseful view behind the scenes in the Kennedy White House during the tense days of the Cuban missile crisis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    Brenda

    Arent u talking to him now. Tees a guy med kevin in result one. Tell him to go to result eigyt. I cant im locked out

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    Interesting Historical Novel

    Having lived in a time of turmoil it was nice to read another perspective on a great yet flawed hero. This was believable

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    Posted September 22, 2012

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    Posted September 6, 2012

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    Posted January 19, 2013

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    Posted September 13, 2013

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