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

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Grand Central Publishing, Aug 1, 2008 - True Crime - 256 pages
9 Reviews
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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Mirkwood - LibraryThing

I knew I would be interested in this book but I enjoyed it well more than I thought I would. A real insight into the world of animal smuggling and the men who fight it. Read full review

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User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

Gripping true-life drama about reptile smuggling. So very sad, though. And disillusioning- I really thought that animals labeled "Captive Bred" were, in fact, not wild caught. But I should have ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

Bryan Christy has had a life-long fascination with reptiles and an even greater fascination with the men responsible for smuggling them to the U.S. He graduated from University of Michigan Law School, took a Fulbright Scholarship to University of Tokyo Law School, worked for Senator Bradley, and later in the Executive Office of the President. In 1999, he was asked to become the country's first post-Vietnam War resident legal adviser to the government of Vietnam but turned it down to write. This is his first book.

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