Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been toppled in a violent coup d'âetat, bringing to power a brutal military dictatorship. With turmoil in the streets and an international embargo threatening to destroy even the country's most powerful players, some are looking to gain an advantage in chaos—and others are just looking to make it through another day. American expat Matt Amaker, forced out of his beachfront scuba shop by a drug-smuggling operation, turns to hunting colonial Spanish treasure off a remote section of Haiti's southern coast. Misha Variel, a Haitian-American scholar, returns to Haiti to care for her aging parents, and soon stumbles onto an arms-trafficking ring masquerading as a U.S.-government humanitarian aid office. Rookie CIA case officer Audrey O'Donnell finds herself managing a grabbag of intelligence assets in an assignment more difficult and more dubious than she could have imagined.
It’s a big, deeply humane political thriller that proves the flame of Graham Greene and John le Carré is still burning ... If there’s any flaw in “Devil Makes Three,” it stems, I suspect, from Fountain’s fundamental decency, a generosity of spirit that limits, in some detrimental way, the moral spectrum of his novel. Yes, horrific things happen in Devil Makes Three — plenty of them — but they’re prosecuted offstage, in the dark, by shadowy figures. To realize the full potential of a story this ambitious, the author needs to stare straight into the eyes of that third figure, that devil ... Still, this is a novel of ideas in the best sense. Fountain’s trenchant analysis of the geopolitical situation is not only subordinated to an intricate plot, it’s deeply embedded in the conflicted minds of these characters, who know and love this besieged place. Nothing here captures the country’s dire plight and indomitable spirit.
Engrossing, psychologically complex and politically astute ... Fountain makes Audrey entirely credible and fully human ... Fountain excels at writing macho dominance games masquerading as conversation, as well as lengthy exchanges of information that seem like talk rather than lectures or sermons. He can construct affecting scenes ... Not only a skillful author, but a brave one, Fountain is drawn to difficult subjects ... Some readers might think: The last thing I need right now is a novel about a crisis that has worsened over time in one of the world’s poorest nations. I understand the sentiment, but I was grateful for the old-fashioned pleasure of immersion in a long book with engaging characters, a sense of history and place, and a multifaceted vision of people trying to figure out what to do when the world around them is changing.