Snakes Can Be Heavy
After finishing George Packer's extremely depressing book The Unwinding, I decided to read something lighter, and so I turned to a book a student recommended called The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers . . . and while I couldn't put the book down, as I wanted to find out if Special Agent Chip Bepler of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife could finally take down Mike Van Nostrand, the brash and blatant kingpin of American reptile smuggling, this book is definitely not light reading: Bryan Christy tells a tale of drugs, crime, corruption boa constrictors full of cocaine melting in a van, environmental devastation, obsessive herpetologists, crooked zookeepers, and a completely overwhelmed Miami division of Fish and Wildlife, with just three agents to cover South Florida, the Keys, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands . . . three agents to "investigate every illegal plant or animal that came through the port of Miami, by plane or by boat . . . three agents to police the waterways against manatee abusers . . . three agents to wade into the marshes before dawn to await duck poachers . . . three agents to watch over the Florida panther, three to stop Mexican restaurants from serving up sea turtle eggs, three to force beachside hotels to dim their lights so that the sea turtles that did hatch could follow the reflected light of the moon to the Atlantic Ocean instead of finding death in the artificial illumination of a well-lit parking lot" and not only that, the book ends with a funeral, but I won't spoil it since Sunswept Entertainment is making a movie based on the story (and it seems they've turned Chip Bepler into a woman).