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Albertson's Incorporated

Charlie Smith's 'Men in Miami Hotels' moves beyond the noir playbook

Charlie Smith's 'Men in Miami Hotels' moves beyond the noir playbook

Perhaps my favorite moment in Charlie Smith's terrific new novel, "Men in Miami Hotels," comes not too far from the end. The protagonist, a Miami hoodlum named Cotland Sims, has snuck into Havana, on the run from a relentless line of gangsters who keep trying to kill him, as if his life had become an existential game of Whack-a-Mole. Cot is accompanied by Marcella, his longtime on-and-off girlfriend, who is traveling with an agenda of her own. "You're a real killer, baby," he tells her, in a classic line from the noir novelist's playbook — but just as we think we know where this is going, Smith turns it around on us. "He felt —...

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