As I've previously stated, I'm working my way through Randy Wayne White's "Doc Ford" series; this is number five out of (so far) twelve. I may catch up sometime in 2009, with the help of my co-worker, Pete, who is generous with his books and recommendations. And also, fortunately, patient.
Anyway: the book starts with a late-night call to Ford from his friend Tomlinson, who happens to be stuck in Cuba. We know Doc pretty well, and it's a foregone conclusion that he'll be on the way to try to extricate Tomlinson, whose throught processes have gone even more off-kilter than usual.
Doc's plan is complex, but even so is quickly overtaken by events driven by a host of colorful characters, most of whom—no surprise—are not entirely what they seem to be at first. The ending is (to be honest) not particularly credible, but still quite gripping. The portrait White draws of Cuba is honest and sad.
By sheer coincidence, the book's climax occurs on Christmas Eve, the very day I finished it. I love it when things like that happen.