Born an Orthodox Jew, Canadian Hank Cooper never believed his seemingly “normal” life would become anything else… until the lure of the 1970’s and 1980’s drug scene led him in a dangerous direction.
Soon, he found himself – either intentionally or naively – colluding with Jesus, but not the one Judeo Christians would recognize. This Jesus was a known drug lord with a long history of living life on the edge and destroying any notion of law-abiding citizenship in the process.
Hank’s story could have ended badly, but even amid despair and deliberate bad choices, he found a savior in Bernie, a man who saved him from himself and from the life he was living.
Follow Hank’s journey as he deviates from his life’s plan and miraculously finds his way to a better, brighter future. His life story proves that sometimes a dead end isn’t necessarily the end of the road.
Based on a series of events that formed Hank Cooper’s life, Smuggling with Jesus resembles a work of fiction or a TV movie-of-the-week, but everything in this memoir is exactly as it happened with no need to exaggerate. Only Hank, with his eye for detail, sardonic approach to the world around him, and capacity for self-reflection, could tell the story of his wild ride with a drug smuggling character named Bernie, who may or may not have been the reincarnation of Jesus. Hank and Bernie’s wild ride included cocaine smuggling, Uzi-brandishing drug lords, sex, celebrities, rock and roll, corrupt law enforcement officials, and exotic places Hank couldn’t believe he was visiting. The wild ride ended when the birth of his son suddenly turned Hank into a grown-up.
Smuggling with Jesus is appearing at the right time: Drug smuggling and drug use – and their consequences – hit the headlines almost daily, a Mexican drug lord was recently apprehended, and the nineteen seventies and eighties are now almost ancient history ready to be described to a new generation. Hank’s potential audience includes his baby boomer contemporaries who might be thinking, “There but for the grace of God go I,” millennials who won’t be able to believe Hank’s transactions took place without the assistance of electronic devices, psychologists who will scratch their heads as they wonder what made Hank and Bernie tick, parents who breathed a sigh of relief when their children climbed into adulthood unscathed, and just about anyone who appreciates a good story told with humor and sympathy. Hank’s outgoing personality makes him a natural for bookstore signings and media appearances.
Nancy Reagan might have urged us to “Just say no,” but news of drug use and drug dealers never seems to go away. Making marijuana legal is being debated in many states, a Mexican drug lord was recently captured, four Canadians were arrested in the Philippines in January for allegedly smuggling drugs into Mexico, many celebrities often wear their positive tests for drug use as a badge of honor, and the media presents an almost daily outpouring of people caught with various amounts of illegal drugs in their home or on their person. In 2012 1,552,432 people in the United States were arrested for drug law violations.
Hank Cooper, now a respected Canadian citizen, didn’t listen when the First Lady urged people to say no over thirty years ago. Neither did a lot of his contemporaries, most of whom are now also respected community members. The market for Hank’s memoir of his drug-trafficking days, Smuggling with Jesus, is people from that generation and also today’s Millennial for whom the nineteen seventies and eighties are ancient history. Hank’s book will also appeal to readers interested in true crime, to parents who would like to teach their kids a lesson without hitting them over the head, and to Hank’s coreligionists who might wonder how a nice little Jewish boy from Toronto, Canada went wrong.
Hank’s memoir differs from the numerous memoirs moving from bookstore shelves to the cash register and from the pages of Amazon to readers’ front door because it is told with humor and sensitivity, without preaching and without excusing his actions.