Reviewed by: Gary Sorkin, Pacific Book Review Title: Panama Sushi Coup
The three words used in the title, "Panama Sushi Coup," turn into an engrossing true story; a narrative about friendship, betrayal, foreign business development and sushi, by James D. Evans as he described a part of his life most people couldn't imagine in their wildest dreams. He purchased, along with some of his friends, a fix-it-upper combination brothel and strip club in Panama.
From the comfort of a Southern California "out-to-lunch-bunch" of friends that meet every Wednesday at their favorite sushi bar in Long Beach, the group began traveling to South America as an escape from their frustration with the dating scene in L.A. On multiple and frequent trips to Costa Rica and Panama, they uncover the social acceptability of prostitution in South America as legal and in many ways stimulating. So Jim, our faithful narrator, takes the reader on a candid and quite descriptive adventure assimilating carnal knowledge amongst the local working girls. Caution: This part of the book is a bit shocking; written from a masculine point of view for a male audience or extremely liberated feminine reader, but definitely not for the church-going-Sunday-tea-sipping group. I would classify this as R- rated for this very short portion, although there is a valid reason for Jim's candid writing. He explained within his book as being necessary to provide a true understanding of what goes on during those paid sexual encounters. What impressed me most is when Jim meets Vivian, a soon to be girlfriend, he doesn't reveal a thing ungentlemanly about their relationship, hence the shock value of the prior lustful episodes were just for that sole purpose - to shock.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Real is more interesting than fictionJan. 1 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Sex, Scandal, corruption and betrayal- this seems to be the theme of the novel, Panama Sushi Coup. The book is a real life experience of the writer who recounts all events in a slow, clear and concise manner. The beauty of the book is that it gets you hooked right from the very first chapter. There is an eager anticipation to know more; to unveil the secrets and to find out if justice has really prevailed in real life. However, the grip of the book is so strong that it does not let you flip through the pages to know the ending, but to read it slowly and linger on all the little details lying between the sheets. Some of the scenes like the description of the brothel are highly mesmerizing. It gives us more than a peek into forbidden areas so that we as laymen get to know the exact way of their functioning. The author understands that most of his readers may not have gone inside any such colorful place in his real life; hence he gives a very thorough description so that nothing is left to the imagination. One great thing about the story is that it manages to covey a vast range of colors that start from bright sunlight, going on to grey gloominess and then finally painting a black picture. The mood changes from happy anticipation to fearful dread and a threat of staying long years in imprisonment. But, as it is real life not all the bad guys are punished. The justice does prevail but not completely. Corruption continues to reign. As it is an adult book, there are numerous descriptions of sex. The prostitutes are treated in a humane manner. They are showed in a better light than a majority of books written on them. Prostitutes are just like other human beings living a normal life. The only difference is that they just choose to earn their money in this way making sex as their vocation. The book shows a darker side of human nature. It shows that In the face of money even your closest pal can do an about-face robbing you of everything- your money, your pride, your trust, and even your freedom. I recommend it as a must read to all the people who wants to get a glimpse of the real corrupt world.
Wow!Dec 23 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
This author says this is his first book, but I find that very hard to believe. He tells the details of the story-line in the book so vividly and leaves nothing to imagine. I read this book as if I was right there and felt as if I was present and had a connection to what I was reading. The author does a phenomenal job keeping your attention. He talks about how bad decisions can really snowball and take everything you have worked so hard for. If it seems to good to be true, than it probably is. He lives his life through this book about how people you think are your friends, really are not and the best way to tell is by falling flat on your face and see who is going to be around to help pick you up. This happens quite frequently in the world we live in today and was more of a wake up call to watch my back much closer. I'm would not say gain a bitter taste in your mouth about friends or business partners from this book, but I will say to learn from the choices and actions throughout the book.
Lastly, I would say I never knew any form of prostitution was legal in the US! According to the author prostitution is not banned federally, it's locally and all states exercise this law except Nevada in most isolated rural counties. I was very shocked to learn there are a handful of counties that do not consider prostitution a crime in Nevada as long as its done in a regulated Brothel location. I also discovered that most countries consider this act to be legal as well. The author explained a great deal about drug trafficking, mafia, and money laundering in Panama. I have always read about this or saw news of this sort on the news world-wide,but the authors way of presenting this in this book was better than listening to the news or watching short story-breaks of highlights that have you bits and pieces of information.
I would have to say the name of the book is not appealing to me and would have never drawn me to the book or caught my interest by glancing at titles. I know the author has his reasons for his choice, but considering the information within the book flaps it doesn't compare in no shape, form, or fashion a reader for what they are about to read......
Understanding People cannot be done with spread sheetsDec 22 2010
Carol Piner aka NCcharmer
- Published on Amazon.com
Panama Sushi Club is about a friendship formed during Wednesday night sushi gatherings. Three "members"; Jimmy, our main character, Angus and Jack were old friends. The bellicose Angus was the leader of the group who told stories of his greatness who also quickly turned on people; Jack was the heavy drinker with a need to conquer women and Jimmy, the main character, was the successful business man. Jimmy saw their unpleasant characteristics, but ignored them. After all, they were friends.
That concept became the breaking point. Still struggling to understand the events that led to what he called the Panama Sushi Coup, he refuses to accept what he knew all along. Many people who have gone into business with friends learned. Some even went through events similar to the bribery, theft and fear he experienced. Buying a condo together sparked the turn from friendship when Angus deeply resented Jimmy getting a master bedroom. Making matters worse, the three went in together to buy a strip club, naively assuming since prostitution was legal in Panama, a concept he wishes the U. S. would grasp even now, controls were in place. While learning more about his friends, he quickly realized Panama was corrupt. Had he walked away when the liar Aldo, the club owner, would not allow the due diligence, much of this book would never have been written.
Jimmy believes women and children could starve if unable to sell their bodies. Although, it might be true. It is a sign that he didn't learn anything. If we open those doors; we will have in the U.S. what he found in Panama. Panama uses prostitution to further their need for corruption. It's not about sex. It's about money; always.
Jimmy said, "If you lay down with dogs, you become a dog." Not true. He never became a dog. Let it go, Jimmy. He tried to apply analytical methods to understand people; especially friends. People are not Excel sheets. Angus knew him better than he knew Angus, and he worked with a different set of rules.
Reflecting on his personal forks in the road, the author wrote about a man who took life's lumps with integrity while being friends with people who had none. Panama Sushi Coup is an excellent book about life and an excellent tool for teaching us why not to go into business with a friend.
A Raw Look At Sushi and SexDec 19 2010
Sandra N. Parker
- Published on Amazon.com
Sometimes the truth is harsh, raw, and real.
James D. Evans recounts his days as the part owner of a brothel and strip club in Central America, every man's greatest dream, right? James and a few of his regular friends meet for their usual Wednesday lunch at the usual sushi spot and have an anything but usual discussion which leads them to begin regular journeys to such exotic places as Panama and Costa Rica to find women. This is when they discover that not only is prostitution acceptable in South America, but even encouraged.
What follows is an extremely graphic narrative told from Jim's point of view that takes us through his carnal exploits with all of the local call girls. To be certain, this is not a book for sensitive readers. Told from a uniquely male point of view, this book gets down and dirty, though not unnecessarily, to provide a true recounting of what goes on during a paid sexual encounter in these areas.
Jim and his drinking buddies eventually buy and fix up a brothel and strip club, which winds up not ending well. The author voices his thoughts, concerns, observations, frustrations, and successes during this portion of the story. I love his use of anecdotes to tell the story, which allows him to combine real stories from the time with the wisdom of hindsight. I was easily able to pick up on his wide variety of emotions from excitement to pain and even fear in some instances.
As shocking as this book was at times, James D. Evans learns a lesson that all of us need to learn: that friendship, like sushi, is great while fresh, but can quickly become poisonous.
Honest WritingDec 25 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
A Sushi Bar is certainly a most unusual place to base a story in, but James Evans goes on to justify his choice of location and entertain us with his 'Panama Sushi Coup'. Yes, I enjoyed reading the book, period. I also thought initially that if he did all this placing of the story without any real association with the characters, then he is an awesome researcher. I have read too many narrations these days set in fantastic location but done with so little research that we feel deflated and transported back to our back-yard. Not with 'Panama Sushi Coup'. A real reader always travels with the narrator, and it is amazing if he can take us along with you while you sit in your arm chair, or beach basket or wherever.
And this is NOT fiction, in case you thought it was a novel, it is a non-fiction book , something like 'Believe it or Not' type. Without playing spoiler, I would reveal that James Evans actually went through some bad days and these are real accounts. This is the first time I am reading someone's accounts of opting to be a brothel-owner. It is legal, and this place is also a strip club and Panama where it is placed is a place where there is plenty of action. But James faces some really bad music, and things go off at a tangent.
This is one book that will grab your attention and hold it till you put the book down. Because, this talks truth and of truth. It also talks about trust, and making the best of what you get from life. Honest Writing is what I would call it.