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Description - High by Brian O'Dea

Abused as a child by his local priest, Brian O'Dea, a once ordinary young man, became a rebel, using and selling drugs for the escape and excitement they offered. Soon he was operating a $100 million a year, 120-man business, and had developed a terrifying cocaine addiction. Eventually he quit the trade - and the drugs - and was working with recovering addicts in Santa Barbara, when the authorities finally caught up with him. Extracts of Brian's prison diary - perceptive, funny and alarming - are interleaved with a vivid re-telling of his outlaw years and the ultimate recognition of the things in his life that were worth living for.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780753512562
ISBN-10: 0753512564
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Virgin Books
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Publish Date: 7-Jun-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - High by Brian O'Dea

US Kirkus Review » Blistering memoir by a once-notorious drug smuggler and addict.Canadian O'Dea writes that a spiritual depression was part of what led him to become an international marijuana-smuggling kingpin in the 1970s and '80s. Brought up a "good Catholic," he found his faith wavering early on, as his childhood entreaties to the Blessed Virgin and God seemed to fall on deaf ears. He describes in unsettling detail a few particularly traumatic experiences at school with passive-aggressive, pedophilia-inclined priests that played a role in his loss of faith. Yet O'Dea's upbringing was otherwise staunchly middle-class and relatively normal. It seems he was simply a born salesman, with drugs being a convenient and lucrative trade when he began dealing to fellow college students in the early '70s. (Later, he effectively sold hair tonic and dinosaur-bone jewelry during lulls in his narcotics racket.) His 20-year smuggling career took him to dangerous, exotic locales like Bogota, Colombia, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Moultrie, Ga. O'Dea had a few impressive multimillion-dollar successes - yes, crime often does pay, for a while at least - but he more often emphasizes the futility of the business. Every operation depended on meticulous administrative planning, dumb luck and weathering built-in occupational drawbacks: rip-offs, double-crosses, getting wasted and waiting, waiting, waiting. O'Dea's clipped, jabbing prose rarely flags. Especially tense is his retelling of an ill-fated trip from Georgia to Colombia, and back, in a rickety 1949 DC-6. He deftly interweaves a parallel narrative of his incarceration at Terminal Island prison, where pot dealers often served 50-, 60- and 70-year sentences, exposing a U.S. prison system nearly as corrupt as the drug trade itself.Clarity of voice and extraordinary powers of recollection make this an unusually revealing account of a criminal's rise and fall. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Brian O'Dea

Brian O'Dea is a film and television producer in Toronto, where he lives with his wife and son.