Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Winged Obsession

Parts of this journalistic account of  a Fish and Game undercover agent's exploits in the the world of insect smuggling are interesting but many parts are just down right dull.

Yoshi Kojima is an eccentric man who makes his living (and a pretty substantial one at that) dealing in endangered butterflies and insects.  Agent Ed Newcomer is out to bring him down.  Understanding the butterfly and insect trading world and the life of an undercover agent in the most unappreciated division  of law enforcement held my attention.  I think anyone would enjoy the general set up to the problems and the day to day life of the agent and also the nefarious world of illegal bug trading.

Once the writer got to the daily and weekly machinations of the sting (which was easily half of the 300 page book) I lost complete interest.  I had very hard time focusing on which butterflies were which, who told which lies, when agent Newcomer was supposed to call and Skype his prey and all the petty comings and goings of the the agent and the butterfly dealer.

The author, Jessica Speart, wrote this book without mention of herself at all.  It was totally third person with no over arching voice of the narrator, how she got all her information and how she could tell the story so thoroughly from a third person perspective.  The last chapter ended that voice and introduced us to a first person view of the author and how she went to get an interview with Kojima after he was released from prison and sent home to Japan.  I found this an odd chapter and while in some ways it was the most interesting, it was also the most misleading.

The author is worried the Kojima will not talk to her, so she lies to him about being interested in his shop and she basically goes undercover and asks him all kinds of questions about the agent and about the illegal butterfly trade.  Huh?  Undercover journalist as well?

So while this was not my favorite Early Review book,  and I personally did not enjoy it, someone may like the stories of butterfly smuggling and undercover work.  Please let me know if you would like to borrow it.

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