Tobacco smuggling became such a problem that in 2013, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) sponsored a bill titled “Smuggled Tobacco Prevention Act of 2013.” Author JoAnn Fastoff’s fourth book in the Howard Watson mystery series, “The Smoke Ring: (A Howard Watson Intrigue)” (published by AuthorHouse), addresses the real-life problem of tobacco smuggling within the story of a fictional tobacco smuggling ring.
“Cigarettes are legal, yet nicotine is addictive and people have to have it, whatever the cost,” Fastoff says. “What we purchase in the U.S. may have negative consequences we’re not aware of.”
In “The Smoke Ring,” Lorna Hunter, armed with a degree in economics, accepts a job in Washington, leaving her drug-dealing father and brother in Los Angeles behind. In an ironic turn of events, Lorna becomes the head of a smoke ring, making money by stealing small quantities of cigarettes in low-tax states and selling them, under market price, in high-tax states.
Protagonist and FBI agent Howard Watson is dedicated to ensuring the termination of Lorna’s operation. Simultaneously, they must deal with the untimely death of a major general in the Marines – a man who urgently requested an audience with Howard before dying. Soon enough, Howard learns how it all ties together.
“This exciting and easy read addresses the rampant smoking addiction in the U.S. and how it monopolizes peoples’ lives,” Fastoff says.