Book Review: ‘The King of Methlehem’

Vacation afforded me the chance to catch up on some reading, and at the top of the list was “The King of Methlehem,” written by Pierce County chief drug unit prosecutor turned author Mark Lindquist.

If you a) live in the northwest and b) enjoy local crime and justice issues (judging by the fact you’re reading this blog, you’d probably answer yes to both), you’ll finish this insightful peek inside Pierce County meth culture in a day.

It’s written like a screen play for a Law and Order episode, with a protagonist detective named Wyatt James hell-bent on landing his biggest fish — a meth-cooking, ID stealing, deteriorating “tweeker” going by his current stolen moniker “Howard Schultz” (yes, the Starbucks CEO). James must go through Mike Lawson, the fictitious Pierce County drug unit chief Lindquist plays in real life, in an attempt to catch Schultz. Lawson continually reminds James he must play by the rules to catch the bad guy.

Book photo courtesy of Elliot Bay Books.

The story line is fast-paced and fun — far better than Law and Order because you have a good feeling Lindquist knows what he’s talking about — but the best part of reading the book is the oh yeah! moments you keep having when the author describes our own backyard and all of its crime and justice issues.

He talks about the Andress decision, takes numerous pot shots at the state’s supreme court justices, speaks of marijuana being the “head cold” to meth’s “cancer,” and of course, of Pierce County’s status as a hub for both the methamphetamine trade and as a “dumping ground” for the state’s felons.

Pick up a copy — it’s worth your while. And when you’ve read it, tell us what you think of it.

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