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No one wants P.I. Carol Sabala to take the case. Her boss is apprehensive about an illegal investigation in Cuba. Carol’s boyfriend worries about her physical safety. But the client is rolling in dough, the office has unpaid bills, and Carol chafes under the mundane tasks assigned to her.

In Old Havana, Carol sets off to track down Megan, the client’s missing daughter, who is battling metastasizing cancer and running from a sociopathic boyfriend. Struggling in the exotic world of the island, Carol races to find Megan, before the disease or her ex-boyfriend kills her.

 

“It is the mark of true talent for a writer to be able to deliver her readers completely and believably to another world, and in Black Beans and Venom Vinnie Hansen has done just that. Set in the vibrant and gritty back streets of Cuba, this cat-and-mouse hunt for a missing woman is full of intrigue, suspense and authenticity. I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read.”  —Award-winning crime writer Allen Eskens.

Book Club Discussion Questions

1. Money is certainly one motive for Carol Sabala’s trip to Cuba. What other factors motivate her?

2. Black Beans & Venom is told in alternating points of view. Did you like this type of narration? Why or why not?

3. A key component in suspense is the villain. How did Eric Mars rank for you as an antagonist?

4. Megan Melquist, the missing person in this missing-person case, was a literature major in college, providing a reason she might visit the Hemingway sites in Cuba. Did you enjoy learning tidbits about Hemingway? What was your favorite piece of information?

5. What is one thing you learned about Cuba from the book? 6. Did the book make you want to travel to Cuba? Why or why not?

7. Were you satisfied with the twist at the end or would you have preferred a tidier resolution?

8. What do you think of recipes in books? Have you ever tried them? If so, what is one that stands out? Did you attempt the black bean recipe in Black Beans & Venom? If so, did you like it?