Brown Sugar in Minnesota by Joe Field

Right after reading a book about a murder in Oklahoma, I just finished reading a book about drug bust operation in Minnesota. This book, Brown Sugar in Minnesota made me think of the recent events taking place in my country.



What is it about?

Cooper Smith is a radio reporter relatively new to Minnesota Public Radio. Young and enthusiastic, he is also afraid of the radio station’s “first in, first out” policy – since he is one of the new employees, he would also be one of those who gets laid off first, if the station needs to do so unless he produces a big-shot story. Then he stumbled upon the story about the shipment of heroin called Brown Sugar. His utmost desire of keeping his job coupled by the anguish upon losing a friend in making the story, Cooper goes beyond what investigative journalism normally does and sets out to help turn down the bad guys.

What I Think About It?

When I read that the book is about drugs, I thought of our newly-elect president and his now-famous line – “My God, I hate drugs.” Brown Sugar in Minnesota brought me to the realms of drug syndicate –  how they operate, manipulate and market their product. I guess what I am trying to say is that, the author must have hone through intense research on this (well, he’s a reporter so it could have been easy). Cooper is one brave media man. But of course, the fact that he lost his friend in the process of getting his big shot story affected him big time in the way he handled things. Not to mention his personal connections, because most members of his family is in the authorities, and his ever supportive fiancee who works for the Governor. With this kind of set-up, Cooper has nothing to fear, in my opinion. He just needed to prove himself in order to save his job. There wasn’t too much action though. As a crime book, I anticipated much of guns and highway chases. The highway chase at the very near end was satisfying, though.

I was moved by the part wherein Cooper interviews the heroin addicts in the rehab. Though I kept in mind that I was reading fiction, I can’t help but wonder why there are people who still chose to do illegal drugs. I don’t judge them – I am just at awe about the satisfaction they say drugs give them, only to regret it in the end.


Brown Sugar in Minnesota is not for bedtime read, because you won’t be able to sleep. You’d hate yourself for putting it down. You’d want to know soon what happens to Cooper in the end.

(This review also appeared in Amazon.)


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