Charles Nicholl is on a quest for ‘The Great Cocaine Story’. The time is the early eighties and the place – Colombia. The Fruit Palace, a dismal whitewashed caf- that legally dispenses tropical fruit juices, has another purpose as the meeting place for a variety of black market activities and the place where Nicholl unwittingly begins his quest. Nicholl relates his story with madcap energy and vividness as he careens from shantytowns and waterfront barrios to steamy jungle villages and slaughterhouses. He survives fever, earthquake, and discovery by a dealer who threatens to ‘check his oil’ with a knife. And he emerges with a tour de force that is a triumph of intrepid reporting and suspense – this is truly a classic travel book.
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