4 out of 4 stars
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Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive is a true to life adventure of Dan “Tito” Davis. It’s technically written or arranged for publication by Peter Conti, but the original manuscript is written by Dan Davis himself.
Davis was born in South Dakota into a community of just a few people. He lived a normal childhood, doing what other children his age would do and helping his parents in whatever chores the family had to do. But things change for him when he entered college at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas in 1974. Here, he learns to trade drugs and even rises quickly to become a multimillion-dollar businessman. Being a smart man and wanting for more, Davis goes on to manufacture white crosses, which are actually ephedrine, and sell the same through his contacts. Despite being caught and served a five-year sentence, he still goes back to his old trade of smuggling drugs.
The turning point in Davis life comes when a friend sets him up on false drug charges. It’s at this stage when Davis’ adventure of living life on the run begins. Knowing that he cannot win the battle legally, he chooses to avoid the federal law enforcement. For 13 years, he constantly and stealthily moves across many countries in Latin America, Germany, Italy, and India.
Just as he thinks he’s safe in Venezuela, a country with no extradition treaty with the United States, Davis begins to set up a “legitimate” business with his third wife until he was black-bagged in 2007. He’s brought back to Miami, leaving behind his terrified wife in Venezuela. He serves 105 months of imprisonment in his homeland until his release in 2015.
Peter Conti is indeed a great story-teller. He takes the reader into a wild ride through drug trafficking and dangerous life adventure. Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive is an action-packed story that leaves you breathless. Once you started reading, you will find yourself turning page after page, finding it difficult to put the book down.
I like best the straight-forward, no-fancy presentation of the plot. Conti writes it crisp. By describing the culture of the countries Davis passes through, he gives readers an overview of what life is like in those countries where illegal drugs are rampant. And, although I didn’t understand some of the Spanish words used, I didn’t get lost in the story. It’s not really an issue for me.
However, I agree with Conti’s observation that Davis’ original manuscript has some inconsistencies in describing the events of his life. This is the part that I dislike the most. I wished Davis gave considerable attention in providing details of important events, places, and scenes so that readers may follow it with a vivid vision. Also, I find the ending of the book hanging. It leaves me curious about Davis' life after serving his prison term and what has become of his wife and business in Venezuela. But I can understand if he wants this part of his life private. So, I classify this as the least I dislike in the story.
Meanwhile, on the technical side, I noticed just a minimal clerical error, which is actually negligible. Overall, I give Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive a rating of 4 out of 4 stars, and I recommend it to readers 14 years old and above.
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