4 out of 4 stars
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What would you do if you had more than a ton of weed worth $1Million, but technically, you are not a drug dealer, and you have no idea or means on how to dispose of them?
Declan Noakes, an army ranger during the Vietnam war, smuggled high-grade weed called Juicy Fruit from Thailand. He came back home when the army discharged him because of a head injury, but he was feeling restless and suffering from PTSD. He craved freedom and didn't want the responsibility society dictates, so he decided to live like a drifter and spend his days on Amtrak trains traveling to nowhere. Juicy Fruit and the Bible are his companions, helping him in coping with his demons. Four years later, he still has the bulk of it, selling or trading only to friends to sustain himself.
Ben Fisher, Declan's buddy from the Vietnam war, suddenly surfaced and seemed to be looking for trouble. Ben turned out to be a shady character and became a drug dealer with connections with the mob. He came intending to go after Declan's cache of weed. Unknown to Declan, Ben is collaborating with two corrupt Amtrack police, who had been harassing him on the train.
The narrative started slow, showing his life as a drifter and, at times flashing back to his time at war. About halfway through, the excitement starts building up and boom. I didn't expect the explosive action, and I was pleasantly surprised. With the antagonists double-crossing each other, and with the local police getting involved, there were twists that I didn't see coming.
The Juicy Fruit Man by Lamar Going highlights the life and struggles of war veterans. It is about family, friends, loyalty, betrayal, and honor. Mr. Going writes beautifully and eloquently. An example is "Declan found an orphan shawl on a seat across the aisle and gently wrapped the old man with the tenderness of a mother feline."
What I liked most is Declan's character. He is a kind and simple man who loves his family, but he is also a badass. His protectiveness to his cousin Rachel is heartwarming, and I also liked their familiar banter with each other. There is nothing I disliked about this book, and it seems professionally edited as I found only one typo.
I recommend this to readers who like thrillers, but don't recommend to minors because of the drug use depicted and the violence. There is no sexual content nor profanity in this book, and this deserves 4 out of 4 stars.
The Juicy Fruit Man
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