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.
©2008 Bryan Christy; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
Ever wonder what might be in all the suitcases that glide past you on the luggage carousel at the airport? After listening to this captivating expose' of pet suppliers and their quasi-cartel smuggling operations, I will make sure to keep my distance from that weird lady with the oddly squirming carry-on the next time I have to fly. The story flips between the perspective of the good guys and the bad guys - although at times you wonder which is which - so you end up learning a little about about how to be a great smuggler/criminal and a little about how to catch them. Entertaining and informative - an easy 4 star rating for this great listen.
I could not put book down.
After all the training the FBI receives, it finally captures the Reptile King!!!
Reptiles are a fascinating topic. The smuggling side of it is a Tony Montana like thrill ride. This book should be in your library.
Wendy Keel, My Book Addiction and More
Very very Interesting. Worth listening to a 2nd and possibly 3rd time to catch the things I missed the first time. I do plan to also get the print version. Listened during driving time with the whole family. We all love reptiles, own several and this book lead to many discussions on the value of reptiles and what it means to be a true reptile lover over someone only after profit. It also lead to discussions on the various types of reptiles there and those that job longer exist in the wild. A wonderfully written book.
An amazing tale of drugs, reptiles, smuggling, bad guys, and good guys. What else could you ask for. Awesome book.
This is a book about international smuggeling, and federal criminal investigation, more than about reptiles.
The characters are very real and intriguing. The author obviously did extensive research into the lives and smuggeling operations of reptile dealers of the 1970s through 1990s.
I'll never look at a pet store, or a zoo, the same way again.
At times the narrator seemed overly dramatic, especially in the beginning when the book introduces the world of smuggeling and its main players.
Overall, a very good book and recording. I'm happy I bought it.
Give this book a try! I had it on my wish list for a few weeks and then gave it a go. I was not dissapointed and am thinking about getting into the reptile black market myself. Any ideas on how to break into the game?
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