Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

Angel's Gate

Angel’s Gate

Andrew J. Rafkin and Louis Pagano

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432780026



In 1983, the rapidly growing city of LA and beachfront communities were active in the illicit drug trade, successfully operating through Angels Gate Lighthouse, and LAX, the gate to the City of Angels. This true story is a recounting of the largest monetary heist in history, carried out by four local surfers, and August Taracina, a successful marijuana smuggler. The heist proceeds with only minor hitches…until the bags of loot are opened. Much to the thieves’ chagrin, there is no cash, no gold 5nothing but financial instruments that cannot be cashed. While still in command of one of the largest marijuana smuggling operation on the west coast, August begins a whirlwind, worldwide tour with his connections to organized crime, the Medellin Cartel, and international bankers, as he attempts to fence the items. Other gangs, along with their treachery and murder pursue him, as well as FBI agent Nick Cutler and his team, the Treasury Department, and Interpol. During this maelstorm, August devises an incredible plan to satisfy everyone’s interest and fulfill their dreams. Now, all he has to do is make it happen.


     It’s 1983. Four local surfers who work in the luggage department of Los Angeles Airport devise an ingenious plan to smuggle drugs. Their goal? To make quick, easy money in order to fulfill their dreams and open a hotel in Costa Rica. They partner with a rich, successful marijuana smuggler named August Taracina and soon they put their plan into action. Eventually they run into an unexpected problem, an event that, to their surprise, turns out more profitable than ever.

     You may ask yourself how authors Andrew J. Rafkin and Louis Pagano know this event really took place if, as in the story, the main people involved were never caught. This is explained in the preface of the book, where the authors state that the story was told to them by a friend who actually took part in the heist.

     Angel’s Gate is a fictionalized account that at times reads like a novel – minus the characterization. I had to keep reminding myself of that, especially during times when I didn’t like what the characters were doing and felt disturbed by their greedy, irresponsible actions and attitudes. That aside, this is a well written, fictionalized account of what supposedly happened back in 1983, and on what, according to the authors, supposedly is one of the biggest monetary heists in history. Gritty prose, realistic dialogue, and continuous suspense make Angel’s Gate an interesting, enjoyable read, especially to fans of true crime books. [ reviewed by Mayra Calvani ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

This was a truly great story. Hands down. Right off the bat we are swept into the world of the local surfers Randy, Scott, Terry, and Jeff, who have a dream about building a hotel in Costa Rica. So of course they need money…lots of it. At first they try selling drugs, but after a while they are forced to find other avenues of cash flow. With their unique positions of working at an airline, the boys devise a plan that exceeds even their wildest expectations. And then the real trouble starts. I literally devoured this book every chance I had because it was so interesting! It was really cool to see it from the criminal POV, and there were just so many other details in there it seems as if this book could have only been written from someone who was there (hmmmmm…). But this was a really great crime novel and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys an engrossing read.

Goodreads Reviewer Stacy

This is an amazing, well-crafted true story that will blow your mind. A group of surfers who work together as baggage handlers at LA International airport come up with a scheme to smuggle in high-grade pot, with the help of August Taracina, an ultra-cool, super-smart pot smuggler, whose well-organized operation brings in tons of pot into 1980’s LA. When their smuggling operation must close down, the surfers come up with another avenue to get the money they need to make their dreams come true, and luck into the biggest haul in history.

This is not only a great story, but it gives readers an insiders look at the inner workings of the smuggling trade and how a shrewd “importer” ran his enormous operation. I strongly recommend this exciting and informative book.

Amazon Reviewer John A. Sanders

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor


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