Heavy read on drugs in Colombia
Colombiano By Rusty Young, Penguin Random House, $37
You’ll need a strong constitution to get through this, and not just because it’s a weighty 688 pages.
It’s the story of a place and an industry which — fortunately — we don’t know too much about here in safe New Zealand. This is the world of Post-pablo Escobar Colombia, drug runners, murders, kidnappings and constant danger.
Author Rusty Young wrote about this life in Marching Powder, a best seller about a drug smuggler written from inside the notorious San Pedro prison. An Australian, he moved to Colombia for seven years, four working for the US government in counter terrorism.
Through this work he learned about child soldiers and interviewed them about their lives of abuse, being forced to fight and commit executions. Colombiano is about a 15-year-old boy who joins an illegal paramilitary group after his father is executed in front of him. He spirals into a world of violence and wonders if he can stop before he becomes like the men he hunts.
From teenage love and coming of age to jungle drug labs, cocaine supermarkets, torture and violence. It’s a big read in every sense of the word. —