Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

New York Times: Christy “WENT NATIVE”! … THE LIZARD KING Makes the NY Times, AGAIN!

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Sunday, New York Times Book Review



The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers
By Bryan Christy
239 pp. Twelve. $24.99

Smugglers with lizards stuffed in their underwear waltzing through customs in American airports; designers breeding large pythons into dazzling colors and selling them as living art for as much as $85,000 — these and other eye-popping details are plentiful in “The Lizard King,” Bryan Christy’s lively first book…[I]t hit me like a body blow…  READ THE FULL REVIEW…


A little over a week ago, NY Times literary critic Janet Maslin issued a heart-warming review of THE LIZARD KING.  Today sees another review by Terry Jentz in the Times Sunday Book ReviewIn the book world there is no better news!  Ms. Jentz was surpised the book’s tone wasn’t darker, but after years deep in the blood and guts of the wildlife trade for THE LIZARD KING and for National Geographic I believe that what the world needs is a look at smuggling from the inside out.  You only have to read notorious reptile smuggler Tom Crutchfield’s T-Shirt to understand what an inside-out view looks like:  Smuggling:  It’s Not Just a Job, It’s an Adventure!   Like it or not, smuggling is done by men and women with smiles on their faces.  How we respond, of course, can be a different matter.  In today’s review, Ms. Jentz didn’t like Mike Van Nostrand and wanted me to dislike him, too.  But Van Nostrand opened his business to me to honor the man who’d sent him to prison.  You can dislike what a man’s done without denying him his humanity–a lesson Agent Chip Bepler leaves us all.

New York Times’ Rave: THE LIZARD KING is “a wild, wooly, finny, feathery, and scaly account of animal smuggling on a grand scale…”!!

Thursday, August 7th, 2008


“THE LIZARD KING is a wild, woolly, finny, feathery and scaly account of animal smuggling on a grand scale, in a weird world so expansive that a few hundred stray snakes and turtles amount to peanuts. Mr. Christy is after much bigger game . . . Mr. Christy’s entertaining book is about the crooks, swashbucklers and drug kingpins who constitute the underbelly of the reptile-dealing world . . . To capture this kind of stunt as effervescently as he does, Mr. Christy must share some of his subjects’ fetishism. (He himself was a snake-fancying kid. He also worked for Ray Van Nostrand cleaning snake cages while doing research for the THE LIZARD KING) So he understands the basic principle that governs reptile trafficking: collectors’ tastes evolve on a ‘bigger, meaner, rarer, hot’ trajectory . . . The chase eventually becomes international. So Mr. Christy has the makings of cat-and-mouse suspense. He also has a tangle of smugglers, agents, breeders and highly colorful minor players (like the tiger-purchasing Miami gangster who sounds like the prototype for “Scarface”) with stories to tell . . . .”    READ THE FULL REVIEW…
 Janet Maslin, New York Times, 8/7/08


“…[I]t seemed to me to be a reminder that there was magic to be found, if I didn’t try so hard.”  –Author’s Note, THE LIZARD KING.  Ms. Maslin’s review is certainly a testament to magic’s existence.  It scares me how close I came to missing today, this review, the New York Times.  I would have missed it simply by putting my wingtips on as I had the day before, and knotting my necktie.