The Crook Factory

The Crook Factory

by Dan Simmons

This much is true...It is the summer of '42, and FBI agent Joe Lucas has come to Cuba at the behest of the Director to keep an eye on Ernest Hemingway, who has reckly decided to play spy in the Caribbean.

Lucas has been instructed to somehow gain the great writer's trust and friendship, but all the agent's cool intellect and training has left him unprepared to withstand the human whirlwind known as "Papa."Hemingway has assembled a spy ring that he calls the "Crook Factory"--including an American millionaire, a twelve-year-old Cuban orphan, a Spanish jai alai champion, a priest, and a fisherman, among others--to play a dangerous game of amateur espionage.

Then, against all odds, Hemingway uncovers a critical piece of intelligence, and the game turns deadly for himself, Lucas, and for untold innocents.In "THE CROOK FACTORY," Dan Simmons weaves an unforgettable tale of riveting suspense, peopled by larger-than-life characters who inhabit the sensual, intoxicating Cuban landscape of the 1940s.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Historical
  • Rating: 3.79
  • Pages: 580
  • Publish Date: August 1st 2000 by HarperTorch
  • Isbn10: 0380789175
  • Isbn13: 9780380789177

What People Think about "The Crook Factory"

Not only that, but he happens to have been one of my favorite authors ever since I read Hyperion back in the day. I read Drood which was all about Dickens and Wilkie Collins, and then there's the Terror and THIS novel. As the author names it, 95% of everything in this novel is true, and whatever narrative liberties he makes, it's all for the good. Ernest Hemingway ran his own spy ring fighting the Nazis in Cuba. To be treated with a novelization of his spy ring, tho?

Ernest Hemingway has talked the US ambassador to Cuba into getting him authorization and funding to set up his own network of spies he calls the Crook Factory to root out Nazi infiltrators on the island. As a writer, Hemingway doesnt impress Lucas because he doesnt even read fiction, and the FBI agent doesnt think much of Hemingway as an spy ringleader either. Yet Lucas soon realizes that theres a swarm of serious spies hovering around Hemingways Crook Factory (including British agent Ian Fleming), and he starts to think that both he and Hemingway are being set up somehow in someone elses operation. Theres an interesting afterward where Simmons writes that most biographers write off this period in Hemingways life as a wacky novelty, yet the government files on the Crook Factory are still classified, and that Hoovers FBI maintained active surveillance on the writer until he took his own life.

With The Crook Factory, readers receive more facts that fiction as Simmons states in the afterward that 95% of the novel is true.

I don't mean to reiterate what is said in other reviews, but (as we know of many Dan Simmons books) there were too many details and much info-dumping and did not balance well with the story. I always find myself learning new things and fun facts when I read Dan Simmons, so I guess it really all depends on the subject matter. Enough good about this book that I'm glad I read it, and for last half, mostly enjoyed it. This book is best read in the summer, on a beach, since much of the setting is the sea. And if you like WWII espionage novels then it's a great read.

Another absolutely GREAT story by Dan Simmons!! If you read through other books by Simmons, you will be astonished at the ability he has to write in any genre like he was born in it. I wish I could find the trough of information that Simmons collects about these fairly obscure historical events that virtually no one knows about, yet really happened.

Think what you might about Ernest Hemingways writing, personality, attitude toward women, etc., there is no denying that the man lived life to the fullest. But, as detailed in the Dan Simmons novel, The Crook Factory, there is much more to the Hemingway life story than most realize. Lest readers be left wondering how much of the novel is based on fact, Simmons adds this clarifying note at the end of the book: The incredible story of Ernest Hemingways Cuban spy-catching, submarine-chasing, World War II adventures in my new novel, The Crook Factory, is I think all the more incredible for being 95 percent true. The Crook Factory is a superb World War II thriller that will, I think, leave the reader with a new appreciation for just what a wild man Ernest Hemingway really was.

i love his exact, careful style.

In 1942, Ernest Hemingway put together a group of amateurs in Cuba and set up what he called The Crook Factory. When you think you are getting on with the story, Simmons has to stop and let you in on another piece of information that he had managed to dig up in his studies.

Sure it's fiction and no one alive (?) really knows what Hemingway was up to in Cuba at the supposed time of this story, but wow...

Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life." Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Coloradoin the same town where he taught for 14 yearswith his wife, Karen, his daughter, Jane, (when she's home from Hamilton College) and their Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Fergie.