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The Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare Paperback – 11 Apr 2013
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Paul Keany took the time to share years of his life, and at the very least he deserves to have his story read.
Nothing is dressed up in this book, and parts are quite distressing to read, I cannot imagine what it was like to experience those things first hand.
Paul, I take my hat off to you, and my heart goes out to you, both for serving your time and not seeking to appear innocent, and for having the guts to make so public the ordeals you endured.
The prisoner/protagonist is refreshingly honest from the start, admitting to his stupidity and his guilt but like many before him, his actions stemmed from desperation, in his case he was in debt back in Ireland due to a downturn in his business and falling behind in loan repayments etc. A familiar story for sure but his solution is probably not as orthodox.
If you have never read any other books of white men being banged up abroad in third world countries for drug smuggling then this is as good as any place to start, there is no shortage of full on violence, abuse, corruption and killings and that’s just the people who are supposed to be enforcing and protecting the law.
At times it can be a tense affair about a cruel, hostile world, a bully’s paradise. A world built on violence, intimidation, bribery and contradictions. It’s one of those books that you quickly sink into and will devour greedily in no time at all. On the down side there is no shortage of clichés and sometimes the writing could be better, but make no mistake this makes for great holiday reading though maybe not so much if you happen to be heading off to Latin America.
So much in it! Nice tension throughout. Often factual memory type books fall flat, not this one. Jeff, am delighted for your pal Paul that he's out and away from all that. The ones that I've found myself talking with others about are the ones stuck in the corridors trying to survive without any money or any family to get them money. They're the ones well and truly in a living hell. Treated worse than animals.
Yep, makes you be even more grateful for your 'freedom' and what you got. It actually helped me when someone was having a go at me the other day over something tiny and what came to mind was yer-man-needed-to-put-things-in-perspective. So yer man failed in trying to rise me; he went away very confused :)
And hopefully the book will, as you say, prevent some people from being tempted to repeat Paul's stupid 'yes' to the flight and maybe even help prod some people to improve prison conditions there and here.
Well done. Job well done. I look forward to your next book.
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