Gringo My Life On The Edge As An International Fugitive

Gringo My Life On The Edge As An International Fugitive


Rated 4.96 out of 5 based on 81 customer ratings
(81 customer reviews)

During his ten year prison sentence, Dan “Tito” Davis penned a 700-page manuscript, which chronicled his thirteen year period on the run from the United States federal government. His writing provided a glimpse into staying alive and out of prison while mixing it up with major drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico; crossing the Darien Gap the worlds most dangerous passageway, sneaking into Germany, getting interrogated in Cuba, and building a resort in Venezuela the same time Hugo Chavez was calling President Bush “the devil” at the United Nations. And while Davis’s exploits were stunning, there was only one problem—he wasn’t a writer.

While living in a halfway house in Wyoming, Davis met with writer Peter Conti and quickly tapped him to “write his story the right way.” For a year the two worked diligently to turn Davis’s raw material into an action-packed memoir, which includes Davis’s life before he went on the lam—how he was making $200,000 a week in college manufacturing White Crosses (speed) and distributing them across the country via the Bandidos motorcycle gang; when he was trafficking thousands of pounds of high grade pot through tunnels and on horse trailers; and how he was set up by his childhood friend.

Published by Full Court Press, under the direction of Barry Sheinkopf, Gringo is a must-read for those looking for what life is really like on the run.

81 reviews for Gringo My Life On The Edge As An International Fugitive

  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    Own Hamill

    Born in South Dakota, Dan “Tito” Davis, along with co-writer Peter Conti, initially attempts to portray himself as an average kid. “Looking back at it,” he tells the reader, “I’m not proud of my behavior, but I wasn’t the first, nor will I be the last, twenty-year-old who got some help from his parents to start a business.” The difference, however, is that Tito’s just borrowed ten thousand dollars to expand his drug business so that he can continue supplying large quantities of White Crosses, first to his buyers in South Dakota, then later across much of the Southwest when he goes off to college at UNLV. After moving on from White Crosses, now involved with meth, he’s set up, and, rather than stick around and insist on his innocence, he flees to Mexico, leaving behind a wife and child.

    The story of Tito’s life works best when he’s on the move, both because the peripheral details of his escape enliven the story and because it forces Tito to reflect on what he’s lost. Luckily, he never rests for long. In San Cristobal, Mexico, he meets Carlos, a fellow American on the run whose stories, Tito complains, “made absolutely no sense.” Tito wonders if this was because Carlos “had made up so many lies trying to reinvent himself along his journey that he no longer seemed like a real person.” Tito worries he’ll turn out the same way. There’s an acute sense here that Tito may lose himself long before he ever loses the feds and that losing himself won’t help him escape. This is driven home while on vacation in Cancun with his Venezuelan love, Mary Luz, who knows nothing about his fugitive status: “This begged the question: was I really the man she’d fallen for? How could I possibly be, when that man would never do such a thing to her?”

    And while Tito’s jam-packed life is always fascinating, at times it actually acts as the book’s Achilles heel. Eager as Mr. Conti and Tito are to recount his entire life on the lam, they occasionally get ahead of themselves, teasing future events before promising to revisit them later in more detail. This approach backfires in perhaps the book’s tensest section, when Tito, still evading U.S. authorities, boards a plane to Germany with a layover in Miami in order to win back Mary Luz, abroad at university. His passage through customs is treated as fraught with potential detection and arrest, as it must have been at the time, but if readers aren’t on the edge of their seat, it’s because we were told a few chapters prior that Tito and Mary Luz eventually marry. As they churn through Tito’s life, the co-authors do touch on a wide range of bigger-picture topics, from rates of recidivism to prostitution, although they don’t always fully flesh them out. Oddly, though, this comes as a relief, because they don’t distract too much from Tito himself. Relentless and riveting, neither Tito nor the book ever stop to catch their breath.

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