The Lizard King

  • by Bryan Christy
  • Narrated by Tony Ward
  • 7 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Snakes on a plane!!!

Ever wonder what might be in all the suitcases that glide past you on the luggage carousel at the airport? After listening to this captivating expose' of pet suppliers and their quasi-cartel smuggling operations, I will make sure to keep my distance from that weird lady with the oddly squirming carry-on the next time I have to fly. The story flips between the perspective of the good guys and the bad guys - although at times you wonder which is which - so you end up learning a little about about how to be a great smuggler/criminal and a little about how to catch them. Entertaining and informative - an easy 4 star rating for this great listen.
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- Kim

Boring. Hour after Hour of names of Reptiles

What disappointed you about The Lizard King?

These "adventures" of a Retile Smuggler and the under-sourced, under-manned US Agents who try to apprehend smugglers could have been told in 15 min.
So to give the book some substance, the Author fills the gaps with endless names of reptiles and repeats ad-nauseum that there is a lot of reptile enthusiasts who spend a lot of money for retiles.


Has The Lizard King turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes. This book basically talks about one smuggler and one agent. Totally boring.


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Lizard King?

The information in this book could be drastically edited to the point of maybe, making an interesting piece in "Outdoors" or "National Geo". But as a book, it is ridiculously redundant.


Any additional comments?

Unless you enjoy hearing the names of reptiles, move on to a different book.

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- Ali

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-09-2009
  • Publisher: Recorded Books