By Ronald Merullo
288 pages; Shaye Areheart
For the anti-Castro conspirators in Fidel's Last Days, Roland Merullo's darkly fascinating thriller, patriotic zeal is second nature; so is deception. As part of an intricate assassination plot, Cuban-American undercover agent Carolina Perez wears disguises as adeptly as she does her high-heeled shoes, aware that she is "flying, as always, on faith, on a love of risk, on buried old feelings for Cuba." A ruthless torturer nicknamed "the Dentist" embodies the horrors of unchecked power in a land of seductive pleasures and eviscerated dreams.