The Man

José Latour

José Latour was born in Havana, Cuba, on April 24, 1940. He started read­ing at a very ten­der age, pro­gress­ing from Hans Chris­t­ian Ander­sen and the Grimm broth­ers as a child to Ray­mond Chan­dler and Erle Stan­ley Gard­ner in his late teens.

By the time the Cuban Rev­o­lu­tion came to power,  José, who was 19,  had become an ardent sup­porter.  He joined the Min­istry of Trea­sury as a junior finan­cial ana­lyst and trans­la­tor and later moved  on to the Cuban Cen­tral Bank.  From there he trans­ferred to the Min­istry of Sugar, end­ing up in the State Com­mit­tee of Finance, where from 1977 onwards he swelled the ranks.

Shuf­fling papers, how­ever, was not chal­leng­ing enough.  In that same year José started writ­ing crime fic­tion in his spare time. His first three nov­els (Pre­lu­dio a la Noche, Medi­anoche Ene­miga and Fauna Noc­tura), set in pre-revolutionary Havana, were pub­lished by Edi­to­r­ial Letras Cubanas in 1982, 1986 and 1989. The fourth (Choque de Leyen­das), was launched in 1998, nine years after he first deliv­ered the man­u­script to the publisher.

José also joined the Union of Cuban Writ­ers and Artists and the Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion of Crime Writ­ers (IACW) in1988. Two years later he resigned his posi­tion as global finan­cial ana­lyst in the Min­istry of Finance to become a full-time writer. In 1998 he was elected vice-president for Latin Amer­ica of the Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion of Crime Writers.

In 1994 José deliv­ered to his pub­lisher The Fool, a novel based on a real-life case of cor­rup­tion in the min­istries of the Inte­rior and the Armed Forces that was uncov­ered in 1989. This book was con­sid­ered coun­ter­rev­o­lu­tion­ary  and  José was labeled an “enemy of the people.”

Cer­tain that nei­ther The Fool nor the books he wanted to write would get pub­lished in Cuba as long as all pub­lish­ing houses were state-owned, reject­ing ide­o­log­i­cal sub­servience and adamant about pur­su­ing a career as a nov­el­ist, José took a shot at writ­ing in English.

His first novel in that lan­guage, Out­cast, was pub­lished in the U.S., six West­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, Brazil and Japan. It got flat­ter­ing reviews and was nom­i­nated for an Edgar.  Since, he has penned Havana Best Friends (2002), Havana World Series (2003), Com­rades in Miami (2005),  The Far­away War, under the pseu­do­nym Enrique Clio (2009) and Crime of Fash­ion (2009).

Seek­ing cre­ative fic­tion and fear­ing dic­ta­to­r­ial repres­sion, the author and his fam­ily moved to Spain in August 2002 and to Canada in Sep­tem­ber 2004. In Octo­ber 2012 he released as an ebook Rid­ers of Land and Tide.

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