MLA Gold Award Site

Excerpt from The Dream Merchant by Fred Waitzkin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Dream Merchant

by Fred Waitzkin

The Dream Merchant
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Mar 2013, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Minutes passed and I began to feel uneasy on the aft deck by myself, peering off the stern at a light growing larger in the blackness. The sting of Jim's voice had put me on edge. I could hear our wives inside the galley, laughing. I wished they'd be quiet. Possibly it was another fishing boat, but that would be unusual, so far off the beaten track. These days, the Miami Herald was filled with stories of cocaine trafficking in remote areas of the Bahamas. American cruisers anchored in the wrong place had been attacked by Colombian drug smugglers; tourists were shot to death and thrown over the side. I tried to steady my imagination. But then the lights went off in the salon and then the anchor light went out. Everything was very quiet, but I could hear my beating heart and also the rumbling of an inboard engine idling closer.

Jim returned holding two automatic rifles. He slammed a clip into one and put it into my hands. I didn't know anything about shooting guns and the weapon felt heavy and forbidding. The girls were still laughing, but now they seemed miles away. My stomach knotted up. I was thinking, Put the guns away, Jim, before something terrible happens. His expression was entirely focused, but also he seemed to be relishing the moment, which alarmed me more than the approaching boat.

What the hell are you doing, man? I said, and Jim cut me off with a hand slammed against my mouth.

What are you doing, man? I repeated to myself. I was beginning to shake.

Not a sound, he ordered.

He didn't want to hear from me, not when the speedboat was only a hundred yards off and edging closer in the dark calm water. Now I could make out its narrow sleek hull. It was sliding right up to our stern.

Then a voice called from the boat in a heavy Spanish accent, Do you know where we are? What a preposterous question to ask in the middle of nowhere. How were we supposed to answer? The sleek boat kept edging forward and Jim motioned for me to get down on the deck. Once again, Do you know where we are? The man's voice was cloying with sweet innocence. It was disgusting.

Jim seemed to see something. He raised the gun fast, hesitated a beat, and he squeezed off three rounds.

Holy shit.

In a second, two thousand horsepower was roaring and the speedboat wheeled on its haunches, throwing white water on us, and for a moment I saw the alarmed face of the man at the wheel staring back as the boat shot off into the darkness.

Did you see the other guy pointing a rifle from the companionway? Jim asked, lowering his own gun. I hadn't seen a second man. I had never seen anything like this before in my life. I was trying to pull my heart back into my chest.

Were they gonna kill us?

What do you think?

Are they coming back? What's gonna happen?

He shrugged. I still didn't get it. Was this for real or a paranoid fantasy that Jim was filling up with life? I had no idea if he'd hit the men or shot to scare them. I hadn't seen any rifles except our own.

We'll have to stand guard through the night, Jim said as though situations like these were normal in life. I tried to imagine how we'd hold them off. Where I fit in. I was a writer from New York, not the right guy to go into a gunfight. The rifle felt clammy and too heavy for me to hold up. Honestly, I wanted to hide down below.

He led me up the companionway and positioned us on opposite ends of a Boston Whaler on the top deck. He took my rifle and clicked off the safety so that I was ready to shoot.

Don't pull the trigger by accident, he said. I've seen that before.

I nodded, pulling my right hand away from the stock. Looking across the taut canvas cover, I could see two lights in the distance moving back and forth. No, three lights. What the hell was going on out there? I couldn't tell if they were coming closer or moving off. How could we defend ourselves against an armada of drug smugglers? But why were they coming for us?

Excerpted from The Dream Merchant by Fred Waitzkin. Copyright © 2013 by Fred Waitzkin. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Fraudulent Money-Making Schemes

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Girl in the Blue Coat
    Girl in the Blue Coat
    by Monica Hesse
    Set in Amsterdam in January 1943, Monica Hesse's young adult novel, Girl in the Blue Coat, ...
  • Book Jacket: Everyone Brave is Forgiven
    Everyone Brave is Forgiven
    by Chris Cleave
    I've always been interested in the history of the Blitz, the period of intense aerial raids of ...
  • Book Jacket: Saving Montgomery Sole
    Saving Montgomery Sole
    by Mariko Tamaki
    Understanding identity is one the most important parts of adolescence. For some teenagers, those who...
Win this book!
Win The 100 Year Miracle

50 Copies to Give Away!

The 100 Year Miracle is a rich, enthralling novel, full of great characters.

Enter

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Spinster
by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
    by Phaedra Patrick

    In a poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Alaskan Laundry
    by Brendan Jones

    A fresh debut novel about a young woman who moves to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I A Sign O T T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.