Book #28

Any Day You Can Die by Thommy Waite

Medellín, Colombia. The City of Eternal Spring. Mecca for digital nomads.

Recently single and burnt out from Melbourne’s corporate scene, Tony Fletcher heads to Medellín in search of a reset.

After moving into a frat house in the city’s nightlife hub, Tony becomes fascinated by the burgeoning gringo subculture that’s fueled by sex, drugs and currency arbitrage. Adrift and dead broke, Tony launches a dubious business on the dark web and gets thrust into the world of international drug trafficking.

Under the cloak of a sham crypto coin, Tony and his associates begin living out their wildest fantasies. Yet there’s trouble in paradise — the natural order has been disturbed. No one climbs to the top without stepping on some toes.

Every day is a blessing. Every friend could be a foe. Every dream can become a nightmare.

After a breakup and an onset of disenchantment, Tony Fletcher flies from Melbourne to Medellín with aspirations to reconstruct his life.

Although we begin with Tony cutting and running, Waite also twists the narrative around in time so we can see Tony’s past. Everything leading up to his escape from Australia is penned out, and it’s made clear why he made the choice to fly across the world and attempt to reinvent himself. Initially, I was excited to travel to Medellín with Tony, believing (as did he) the lies he was telling himself, and hopeful we could find some luck and adventure. The trouble was,  I soon realised Tony was a total dick. And not too long afterwards, I realised everyone is a dick here.

This is because Tony curates his team of friends well, as most dicks do - a social media influencer with an irritatingly positive mental attitude, an pan-faced pickup artist harbouring a dangerous obsession with sex and women, and a coke fiend who is in the room with you one moment, and has disappeared to the loo the next. Alongside Tony, a repulsive personification of toxic masculinity, this team of morally questionable reprobates make it clear we are in for a bumpy road.

From this point, Waite goes hell for leather to plunge you into the Columbian world of expats. Sex, drugs, get rich quick schemes, unerring desires to become wealthy and desirable playboys; Waite shows us it all build up and unravel just as quickly. 

His writing is compelling, and it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from the depictions of egotism crashing into greed. There’s something really valuable about hating characters, almost more valuable than loving them. They’re far more engaging; you don’t care whether you see their redemption or their downfall, but their story will grip you far more than a likeable character’s tale ever will. Waite has done a great job here of displaying these four men as though they were symptoms of a disease, and uses subtle dialogue and commentary to admonish them.

An explicit study of human behaviour disguised as an expatriate's unscrupulous capers in Medellín. Waite has created something unique and modern, carefully displaying the possibilities open to us in the world of technology and commodity, whilst exposing us for who we truly are when faced with immoral self-gratification.