One of the world’s most beautiful endangered species, butterflies are as lucrative as gorillas, pandas, and rhinos on the black market. In this cutthroat $200 million business, no one was more successful—or posed a greater ecological danger—than Yoshi Kojima, the kingpin of butterfly smugglers.
In Winged Obsession, author Jessica Speart tells the riveting true story of rookie U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent Ed Newcomer’s determined crusade to halt the career of a brazen and ingenious criminal with an almost supernatural sixth sense for survival. But the story doesn’t end there. Speart chronicles her own attempts, while researching the book, to befriend Kojima before betraying him—unaware that the cagey smuggler had his own plans to make the writer a player in his illegal butterfly trade.
Praise for Winged Obsession:
“…a true thriller about an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent hunting for the ‘human vacuum cleaner’ of the insect world… The world of butterfly smuggling nets an estimated $200 million annually, and is filled with unforgettable villains—like the ‘Dr. Death of Butterflies’ who fell 5,000 feet while reaching for his prey—and the fascinatingly weird. Winged Obsession swings open the door. “
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Winged Obsession offers a fascinating glimpse into the illegal market in exotic and endangered butterflies… By the end of Winged Obsession, I was rooting for creatures I didn’t know existed before I read the book.”
An Indie Next Pick! “I had certainly heard about wildlife smuggling, but this completely bizarre true-life tale brings the strange black market for insects vividly to life. The cat-and-mouse chase between an intrepid wildlife agent and the notorious and highly unusual understatement Japanese smuggler will shock and amaze you. Movie Producers take note!”
— Julie Arriens, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT
“Butterfly smugglers? Who knew? Journalist Jessica Speart chases down the butterfly world’s most elusive criminal, the notorious Yoshi Kojima, in her fantastic new book. It’s a journey with the twists and turns of a taut thriller—like The Orchid Thief, only with wings.”
“Winged Obsession is an unputdownable thriller that exposes a new world of greed and obsession—the illegal trafficking of exotic butterflies. They’re among nature’s most gorgeous and remarkable creatures, but they’re worth millions of dollars on the black market, and Jessica Speart makes you root for them and Special Agent Ed Newcomer, as he wages a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with notorious butterfly smuggler Yoshi Kojima. I loved this book!”
—Lisa Scottoline, New York Times best-selling author