Maggot Night

Maggot Night

4.0 2
by D. W. St John

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Elderberry Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.03(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.90(d)

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Maggot Night 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
D.W.St.John brings a driving plot line to bear on the human cost of the drug war. Much as Upton Sinclair in his muckraking classics, The Jungle and King Cole, St.John¿s chosen aim is exposing ethical dilemma, and forcing us, at the point of a pen, to examine what we would rather not. In previous novels he has shone a light on injustice incipient in bio-engeneering and public schools (Sisters of Glass, A Terrible Beauty). Of his work to date, this is his most accessible novel, bearing as it does on an issue that has touched us all. In Maggot Night he has chosen as his target a drug war never meant to be won. Here he manages to totter along the tightrope between maintaining a seamless narrative and laying out facts while seldom succumbing to the temptation to preach. At 345 pages, Maggot Night is that rare animal¿a story that informs and entertains. Brimming with facts about marijuana research and laws, it is an insiders view of the drug war and how it is fought. Told from the perspectives of enforcement officers and the suspects they arrest (with compassion for both), Maggot Night is a story that will touch readers deeply, while just maybe opening some minds at the same time. The protagonist, Night Hume, an undercover INET (Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Taskforce) agent in Eugene, Oregon, has for three years lived the life of the street people in the drug culture he calls maggots (thus the title). His years undercover have cost him much¿a home, a marriage, a daughter¿yet, always the good soldier, he does his job. Assigned to buy from a college professor who sells to her students, he meets Ceredwen Lawrence¿a most unlikely dealer. When, due to a misunderstanding and his own weakness, he rents a room in her home for himself and his teenage daughter, Night crosses his Rubicon. From this moment. Night, the unquestioning drug enforcement officer, is lost. Having something now to hide himself (living with a suspect) Night must lie to his partner, to his boss, to himself. But his troubles have just begun. Ceredwen¿s young daughter needs chemotherapy. With an initiative legalizing marijuana on the upcoming ballot, a routine bust turns deadly. Then, less than a week later, a meth lab raid explodes into an ambush Night barely survives. Lies discovered by his partner, Night is forced to choose between his job and the life of a woman he has come to care about. With Ceredwen about to lose her home to forfeiture, her daughter refusing to again endure the rack of chemo, and a cover up protecting those who murdered his brother officers, Night is forced for the first time to question marijuana laws he has spent his life enforcing. Soon, asking too many questions brings the men responsible for the assassinations to him, and for the first time Night sees the other side of the equation. Simon, the government agent in charge of the cover up explains the drug war to Night this way: ¿Get it yet? With drugs illegal everybody¿s happy. Congressmen get to save us by passing more laws and raising taxes to pay for them. Cops get laws granting admissibility of improperly seized evidence. Bureaucrats get more power. Lawyers get more business. Prison workers get job security. Cartels get higher prices. Juan in Cartagena gets a job. Police departments get millions in forfeited property. And Mr. and Mrs. America get to feel safe in their beds. Does it get any sweeter?¿ It doesn¿t. Simon¿s job is to make sure Night doesn¿t upset the apple cart. There is only one problem¿with the screams of his dying companions echoing in his head, Night is not willing to play along¿however much he might want to. The plot¿s climax, while it will not be popular with those with faith that the world owes its present state not to human design but to chance, is guaranteed to ruin a good night¿s rest. While St.John¿s dialogue rings true, his prose will offer Joyce Carol Oates no competition for her next literary prize. ¿Ordinary¿ is how Publishers Weekly