Red Right Return: A Buck Reilly Adventure – John H. Cunningham Review

Buck Reilly’s a lot like the rest of us — trying to make ends meet and hoping for better times. He’s living in a Key West hotel and operates Last Resort Charter and Salvage aboard a 1946 Grumman Widgeon flying boat, hunting for sunken treasure and taking on an occasional passenger, no questions asked. But when he delivers a mysterious woman to a mission boat destined for Cuba, things start going downhill quick. He faces down the dark forces of Santeria priests, Cuban Secret Police, and an FBI agent with a grudge. Buck has nothing but ingenuity to save his skin and the lives he put in peril … and prevent a war with America’s longest-running enemy …
When you see the world through Buck Reilly’s eyes, the view will never be the same.

Buck Reilly is living in Key West after his company collapsed and he had to file for bankruptcy. Used to living a life of adventure, he is now running a small charter and salvage service and just trying to make ends meet.

Honestly, I felt that the beginning of the novel was a little choppy and rushed. It probably would have been nice to get to know Buck a little better before the adventure started. I just found it a little confusing to have Buck’s personal life story interspersed with the complex plot. There was a LOT of Cuban/American history introduced in this novel. Personally, I found all the different plot points (and characters introduced) to be a little too complex for me, but others might enjoy this writing style. I did appreciate all of the research done for this book and how vividly the atmosphere was described.

The book does pick up halfway through. There is a lot of excitement and a little romance. In fact, from about halfway through the novel to the conclusion, there is a pretty non-stop build up that leads to a thrilling climax. I thought Cunningham did a great job of building the suspense.

Buck Reilly may be an extremely flawed protagonist, but he’s definitely charming and likeable. I liked all of his friends (and how every character was quite well-developed). A good start to the series – I predict Cunningham will only get better.

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