Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad

Hotel Scarface

Roben Farzad

Hotel Scarface is a portrait of a city high on excess and greed, an extraordinary work of investigative journalism offering an unprecedented view of the rise and fall of cocaine—and the Mutiny—in Miami.

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The wild, true story of the Mutiny, the hotel and club that embodied the decadence of Miami’s cocaine cowboys heyday—and an inspiration for the blockbuster film, Scarface...

In the seventies, coke hit Miami with the full force of a hurricane, and no place attracted dealers and dopers like Coconut Grove’s Mutiny at Sailboat Bay. Hollywood royalty, rock stars, and models flocked to the hotel’s club to order bottle after bottle of Dom and to snort lines alongside narcos, hit men, and gunrunners, all while marathon orgies burned upstairs in elaborate fantasy suites.
 
Amid the boatloads of powder and cash reigned the new kings of Miami: three waves of Cuban immigrants vying to dominate the trafficking of one of the most lucrative commodities ever known to man. But as the kilos—and bodies—began to pile up, the Mutiny became target number one for law enforcement.
 
Based on exclusive interviews and never-before-seen documents, Hotel Scarface is a portrait of a city high on excess and greed, an extraordinary work of investigative journalism offering an unprecedented view of the rise and fall of cocaine—and the Mutiny—in Miami.


Advance Galley Reviews

I tried, but just couldn't get into this one.

A special thank you to Penguin Random House First to Read. I found this book to be action packed and a fast read. It appeared to be well researched. At times I had to remind myself this stuff actually happened. A fascinating look at an interesting time in Miami. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to just about anyone. I did find it difficult to keep up with the different players in this book, although the list of characters at the beginning was helpful.

Great story about drugs and the lifestyle that goes with it in Miami through the years. Written so well I felt like I was there. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story that keeps you interested.

Hotel Scarface is an all-encompassing look at the rise of the cocaine culture in Miami in the 1960s onward; beginning with the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, this book chronicles the all of the major players in Maimi throughout the late 20th century. The author, Robin Farzad, has a vested interest in this topic, having grown up in southern Florida. Farzad has clearly done his research on the topic, and the book was very informative. However, with many key players who came in and out of the cocaine scene, the book would have benefited from a more narrow focus on particular characters. The stories of The Mutiny, the epicenter of the cocaine dealing, were vividly illustrated and painted a fascinating picture of a culture that most of us have only experienced via works of fiction in movies and television.

I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of Miami in the 70s and 80s. This book has it all money, drugs, kingpins, violence, and murder. A lot of research went into this book and it shows. This story is so interesting. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

Loved it! Very informative, fascinating, and well-written! Definitely has a "Miami Vice" vibe to it!

Living in Florida for a total of 12 years and visiting my sister, who lives in Miami. I’ve always wondered what it’s early day story was. I was excited to read about its history in the late 70’s and 80’s. I knew Miami was the vibe for the rich and famous, just didn’t know how intergrated the rich and famous and the drug lords were. Hotel Scarface was intriguing— the ins and outs of the world of drugs, and controlling the realm of greed and excess, the way the people who worked for the Drug Lords lived. Their life was hazy, dangerous and fluid. Robert Farzad did a fantastic job at researching the history of Miami- the inside look at the players, the Mutiny and its role in the world of Cocaine conspiracies and death. I’ve been to the Mutiny and so reading about its history was a eye-opening experience. Miami Vice- the television show has nothing in this book. Thanks, Penquin First to Read for the opportunity to read this book.

This read like a Greek drama to me! Well-researched, a good journalistic piece.

For me this was not a typical journalism story. I was offered a view into the excess of the 80s that I never read before. There was a long list of people that accompanied the book so I was able to follow along. This rich saga was full of money, drugs, and murder. This book is tailor-made for fans of Scarface. It was easy for me to digest. I admit I was not prepared for by the amount of violence yet it didn't deter me from finishing the book. It was fast paced and I did not root or envy the criminals. Too bad some rappers still idolize this lifestyle

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I found it well-researched and informative. The character list was initially daunting but very helpful as the history unfolded. The opulence and extravagance were well-documented. Interesting to read about the role a single place, the Mutiny, played in the history of the region. I could not read much in one session as I needed time to " digest" all of the information covered in the book. Overall, an interesting book about a fascinating era in American history.

The information is well researched and very interesting. I just found the beginning hard to get into because the writing was a bit choppy the first third of the book. It is a great look into a world that I am glad to see from the outside looking in. I liked that there was a list of characters at the beginning that would be even more helpful had it been in alphabetical order.

I found the subject matter interesting. The anecdotes made the the book easier to move through. Using the hotel as the main point reference was brilliant. However towards the end I found the book drifted a little.

Cocaine's a hell of a drug. Hotel Scarface tells the story of the rise and fall of The Mutiny, one of the hottest places to be in the 70s and 80s when Cocaine trafficking & dealing became an economy of its own. Naturally, it starts out with all of the excitement of obscene amounts of money falling into the hands of many Cuban exiles who had never experienced anything close to this kind of wealth before. There's money, drugs, celebrities, and eventually the violence increases and it's still exciting, but in a different way. I enjoyed this book overall, and I appreciate the personal note the author brings in with his connection to Miami. However, I struggled at times to get through the book. In the beginning, it was almost too much excess for me. All I could think about was all the money being thrown around and here I am with my mountains of student loan debt, reading an advance copy for review because I don't have money to buy a copy of this book when it comes out. But, that's got more to do with me than it does the book. I'm choosing to let it depress me a little bit that I could pay for college and then get an advanced degree with the money that was spent on Dom Perignon in a few days at the Mutiny. Of course, the focus is eventually taken away from the money as the story becomes more murderous as the law cracks down and informants are offered plea bargains. Eventually the Mutiny becomes a shadow of its former self, as do the aging Kingpins and Cocaine cowboys who once threw around $1,000 tips. If you have a specific interest in Miami during that time period, you will probably enjoy this book. I had no real knowledge of it and after reading this, I look forward to watching the documentary Cocaine Cowboys for a little more personal insight.

Hotel Scarface was a fun and highly informative read. My history class never really got to the 1970s/ 1980s, and I certainly didn't know much (er, anything) about Miami. Farzad sets up the extravagant lives and actions of the cocaine cowboys with the backdrop of the Mutiny hotel and club. As the reader you're immersed in the deubachery, the big spending, the intrigue, the violence. Sprinkled in were little tidbits of how everything tied back to major world events like the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Iran-Contra affair, Operation Pedro Pan, etc. At times it was difficult keeping track of everyone (there were a lot of people invovled) but never to the point of being overwhelming. It was also fascinating to see how everyone has fared with the passage of time, and understanding where many of these big players in the 1970/80s cocaine scene are now. An absolutely fascinating and well-written snapshot of the rise and fall of cocaine (and the Mutiny) in Miami. I received a digital ARC of this book through Penguin's First to Read program.

I really loved this book. It is about the 70-80's in Miami and the true story of the Mutiny Hotel and the cocaine days. Cocaine was king in those days and the hotel was full of Hollywood stars, rock stars, models and everything was wild and free. Three Cuban immigrants were the Kings of all this but as the bodies stacked up law enforcement took active notice of all this. This author did extensive research and interviews to write this book.

Hotel Scarface is the true story of the Mutiny Hotel in Miami which, over the scant couple of decades it existed, played a pivotal role in the cocaine trade. Exhaustively researched, this book draws you into the debauchery and decadence of the rise (and fall) of cocaine kingpins in 1970s Miami. The author also ties in historical tidbits to help set the scene: The Bay of Pigs invasion, Playboy magazine, George H. W. Bush, the Mariel boat lift, the Iran-Contra affair, and the Miami Dolphins among other unexpected players make appearances in this intricate story. Farzan paints the picture so vividly you can almost hear the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever accompanying the madness that went down in the Mutiny. This book has everything you'd expect: drug-fueled pleasure and violence, hitmen, snitches, alter egos, stakeout missions, and court cases. While I wasn't 100% sold on the writing style, and the plethora of characters sometimes made my head spin, on the whole it was an absolutely fascinating read.

A really good read. Lots of characters with a good index in case you get lost (thanks for including it FtR). Miami Vice stars, Presidents and drug dealers all in the same place (O_O).

Dear "Firsttoread", Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book. I found it fascinating. Below is my review. I am submitting it to Goodreads, LibraryThing, Booklikes, Barnes & Noble, and of course, Amazon. I hope my review leads to some additional interest in the book. Thank you! What an excellent read! Hotel Scarface is the story of the "Mutiny Club", a hotel/club/restaurant in Miami. It's set in the 1980's, running up to the present day. The Mutiny Club was the nucleus of the 80's cocaine scene, and of the "Cocaine Cowboys". Think "Miami Vice", "Scarface", and the "Godfather". Then add in anti-Castro patriots, the Marielitos from Cuba, the Columbians (including Pablo Escobar), the Iran-Contra fiasco, Manuel Noriega, Janet Reno, and a whole host of professional ball players, actors, and politicians. All of those frequented, or had connections to, the Mutiny Club. It's just an amazing story. And handled so well. At times, just the amount of names and characters can seem overwhelming, but if you take a breath and think a bit, it's not hard to follow. You want to just keep plunging ahead, because it's such an exciting story, but you really need to slow down and savor it a bit to get the full effect. Farzad fleshes out the characters well, so you get the sense that you are there with them (and that's a scary thought). The story goes beyond the Mutiny Club itself, into broader settings, worldwide, but the author manages to keep tying the story back to the Club itself. I was fortunate (????) enough to meet several of the characters myself, not on their level, but during my career in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The descriptions of the manner and bearing of the "drug lords" is spot on. As is his descriptions of the lesser players, and especially of the Mariel Cubans. I think I could write a book myself, just on my experiences with these people. And, finally, the ending. Not to spoil it, but Farzad describes well the zeal with which the Federal government goes after these people in court. As they well learned, once the Fed's decide they want you, it's curtains for you. It's just a matter of time. As you can tell, I really, really enjoyed this book. More than most of the other 60-odd books that I have read and reviewed this year. I highly recommend this one!

Hotel Scarface was a slow read but it still held my interest and I didn't find myself getting distracted by what was going on in the book. A good read, informative, and well-written.

 


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