Books and Books Coral Gables. August 14th, 2008. 8:00 p.m. Author Bryan Christy will be discussing and signing his most recent book The Lizard King at Books and Books Coral Gables on August 14th, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.
When Bryan Christy began investigating 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 an alligator, sprayed by a bird-eating tarantula, and ejaculated on by a Bengal tiger. But perhaps most challenging was coming face to face with Michael J. Van Nostrand, owner of Strictly Reptiles, a thriving family business in Hollywood, Florida. To some, Michael is a dutiful son of Ray Van Nostrand, Sr., founder of the family business and a living legend among the snake-hunting set. But to Special Agent Chip Bepler of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michael and his father are suspected smugglers and targets of a five-year investigation that has become his personal mission.
Strictly Reptiles imports as many as half of the green iguanas brought into the United States (America’s most popular imported reptile), and hundreds of thousands of snakes, frogs, turtles, spiders, and scorpions. The Lizard King is Christy’s evocative tour through the wild subculture of hunters, enthusiasts, and collectors willing to pay $175,000 for a rare African snake. It is the story of virtually every reptile for sale in America, and it is Christy’s personal story of his attraction to life’s underbelly, borne from his experiences in his family of morticians. Best of all, it is a tale of reptile smugglers, a family business, and a cat-and-mouse game with a federal agent determined to expose their cold-blooded crime.
Bryan Christy has written for National Geographic and Playboy. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Tokyo Law School. He has worked as a lawyer in Washington, DC, where he advised on such topics as the sale of light water nuclear reactors to North Korea, trade with Libya, and US-Japan supercomputer trade negotiations.
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