Reviewed by Calum Mcleod
|AS with football
hooligans and former members of the SAS, retired dope smugglers
have realised that their former occupation can translate into
print with lucrative results. So it is here. Do not be deceived
by the name on the spine; Robert Sabbag may bring the narrative
skill and an authorial track record that includes cocaine
smuggling classic "Snowblind", but this is the story
of its protagonist Allen Long, a barnstorming buccaneer of a
marijuana smuggler who brought Columbia's finest pot to the
discerning consumers of America at considerable profit to
himself. The careful reader will approach this with a pinch of
salt, wondering whether and how much facts may have been
doctored to put Long in a better light or spice up the tale.
There is, after all, rather a lot of dialogue for a book dealing
with events almost 30 years before.
But that should not spoil the enjoyment. This is a true life
thriller that harks back to a more innocent age when drug
smugglers avoided guns and violence and were amateur criminals
drawn into the life as much by a chance to get a decent supply
of weed as by the money. Of Long's smuggling crew, lurching back
and forth to Columbia in an aging Dakota, only one carries a
gun, and that only because he has a morbid fear of being eaten
by sharks. Not everyone they deal with is so scrupulous. Not the
Columbian drug growers, who speak of how much they would regret
having to kill the Americanos if they had to, and certainly not
the father of one of Long's colleagues. "What does your dad
do for a living?" Asks Long.
"He's a hitman."
"No really, what does he do? "
"Oh, no, I'm not kidding. He's a hitman."
From the shambolic early days in Mexico, demonstrating why drug
users should never attempt to arrange drug deals, to the
seat-of-the-pants flights over jungle and ocean and
confrontation with cops and criminals, this is a book that cries
out to be filmed. When it inevitably is, get in first and tell
your mates, equally inevitably: "It's not as good as the