The Lizard King: the True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy

I subscribe to a several e-newsletters from major publishers, including Random House, Penguin Group, Hachette Book Group, and many more.

I just read the latest Nonfiction e-newsletter from Hachette where I read about Bryan Christy’s The Lizard King: the True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers.

Reading Janet Maslin‘s review of this book — “Coldblooded Commerce in Coldblooded Contraband” published August 6, 2008 in the New York Times — and Terri Jentz review of this book — “Cold-Blooded” published August 15, 2008 in the New York Times — makes me think this book will be quite a page-turner. And Bryan Christy’s website is worth a look for more information.

Here’s what the publisher has to say about this book:

Imagine The Sopranos, with snakes! The Lizard King is a fascinating account of a father and son family business suspected of smuggling reptiles, and the federal agent who tried to take them down.

When Bryan Christy began to investigate the world of reptile smuggling, he had no idea what he would be in for. In the course of his research, he was bitten between the eyes by a blood python, chased by a mother alligator, and sprayed by a bird-eating tarantula. But perhaps more dangerous was coming face to face with Michael J. Van Nostrand, owner of Strictly Reptiles, a thriving family business in Hollywood, Florida. Van Nostrand imports as many as 300,000 iguanas each year (over half the total of America’s most popular imported reptile), as well as hundreds of thousands of snakes, lizards, frogs, spiders, and scorpions.

Van Nostrand was suspected of being a reptile smuggler by Special Agent Chip Bepler of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who devoted years of his life in an obsessive quest to expose The Lizard King‘s cold-blooded crimes. How this cat-and-mouse game ended is engrossing and surprising.

Sounds like a book on an obscure topic that will be hard to put down — just the kind of stuff I love!

The latest Hachette Nonfiction e-newsletter also included:

The Last Undercover: The True Story of an FBI Agent’s Dangerous Dance with Evil by Bob Hamer, a 26-year veteran of the FBI’s undercover operations, also sounds interesting.

Thankfully I have my hands full with lots of library books so I won’t be tempted to go find copies of any of these books — at least not for another month.

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