Wednesday, August 3, 2011

At the Devil's Table

Forget TV, The Sopranos pales by comparison to the true life exploits reported by William Rempel in AT THE DEVIL'S TABLE.  Read by Fred Sanders, this is the tale of Jorge Salcedo, who worked inside the infamous Cali cartel in Colombia in the 1990s, and whose ultimate outrage at a bombing he was asked to do as security chief forced him to cooperate with DEA agents, putting his life and the life of his family at risk.  Now in hiding under the Witness Protection Program, Salcedo once saw firsthand the violence and corruption which kept men like Pablo Escobar in bloody power, awash in money from American crack addicts.  And these are the men our gangster rappers look up to and try to emulate?  It's a dead end, and here you'll see why in vivid detail.  Next, for an ironic twist on America's Next Top Model, try Libba Bray's humorous novel BEAUTY QUEENS, wherein a bevy of Teen Dream contestants crash land on a desert island en route to what was meant to be another photo shoot and competition for broadcast.  This pageant (turned into Survivor episode) is tongue-in-cheek fun narrated by the author.  Cassandra Campbell reads JOY FOR BEGINNERS by Erica Bauermeister, a refreshingly different novel about a cancer survivor who decides to go white water rafting while daring her friends to face their fears (and live) as well.  And for an offbeat and unusual fiction collection set in the Virgin Islands, HOW TO ESCAPE FROM A LEPER COLONY by Tiphanie Yanique is read by Robin Miles, Dion Graham, and Andrew Garman.  It's a worthy debut look at Caribbean culture as revealed through post colonial storytelling. 

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