By Mike Tucker, Black Books and Reviews.com
In this novel of corporate intrigue, exotic locales and bizarre mysticism, Sidney Poitier’s title character endures several prominent pains in the neck simultaneously: a major scandal resulting from a tragic work-related accident, covert attempts by insiders and raiders to wrest control of his company and a teenaged daughter determined to turn bad choices into an art form.
But Montaro Caine keeps his cool with a little booze, adherence to his grandfather’s advice and a dutiful wife who keeps tabs on the home front. He is not given to rash retaliation, empty threats, and hissy fits. As CEO of a major corporation he understands the underlying psychology of winning friends and influencing people—listen before talking, think before reacting.
Caine marshals all his people, business, and spiritual acumen to deal with the discovery of two mysterious coins and their supernatural properties, and to survive the fighting, conniving and thieving that goes on to gain control of these objects and the commercial exploitation they represent.
What is enjoyable in this first novel by Poitier is the storytelling because as an actor and film director he is used to spinning yarns. Montaro Caine is a good one.
Caine is a likeable and fascinating man because he mimics Poitier’s screen persona. I have always held the actor in high esteem because the characters he brought to life were regular Joes who did heroic things. They used their intelligence and proper rearing instead of resorting to simple smack-‘em-upside-the-head solutions. You could argue Poitier broke Hollywood’s color line but I think it’s more accurate to say he ignored Tinseltown’s scripted traps for African-American actors.
Poitier’s honesty, decency, and politeness are apparent in the title character, even though Caine is born of Jewish immigrant stock from Austria, and Miami-born Poitier grew up in the Bahamas. And that is the exciting part of Poitier’s foray into fiction—he ignores categories and expectations while providing new ways to think about human existence and getting along. He also layers the key plot and twists with a couple of jarring questions:
Who are the real thieves—people of modest mean who illegally steal or people of great wealth who legally steal?
Is it possible for anyone (rich or poor) to forgo profit for a modicum of humanitarian enlightenment?
The answers are thought provoking and prompt me to hope for a Montaro Caine sequel or a new novel from Mr. Poitier.
About the Book Review Author
Mike Tucker is a freelance writer and content producer living in Northern Virginia.