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  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • Hotel Scarface
  • Roben Farzad
  • 22 September 2016
  • 9781592409280

10 thoughts on “Hotel Scarface

  1. Julie Julie says:

    Hotel Scarface Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami by Roben Farzad is a 2017 Berkley publicationMiami Vice? Al Pacino’s Scarface? Miami in the 1980s was all that and You'll have to keep reminding yourself that this is no work of fiction While the entire country suffered an economic downturn Miami was hustling and bustling its economy bursting at the seams solidifying its ‘sexiest’ city reputation all thanks to that high priced highly addictive white powder Cocaine At the center of all the excitement sat the Mutiny Hotel situated on Bayshore drive The hotel and club was Miami’s version of ‘Casablanca’ with Burton Goldberg at the helm This was the gathering spot for the Miami Dolphins football players rock stars party girls drug smugglers and dealers and cops alike Business was conducted at all hours of the day and night The Cocaine the money the Dom all flowed like water through the Mutiny in its heyday The city was a war zone with the highest murder rate in the nation and the cops and judges were in the pockets of the drug lords many of whom were household names right alongside the celebrity clientele at the Mutiny People from all walks of life small time earners and lower income Cuban immigrants were suddenly flush with unimaginable amounts of cash expensive cars and all the rest It was a crazy time and Mutiny Hotel became THE place to meet and do business for the notorious ‘Cocaine Cowboys’The book replays the drama that took place inside the storied walls of the Mutiny featuring a large cast of characters some of whom will sound very familiar while others were mostly famous inside the confines of the drug industry To help keep it all sorted the author graciously provides a list of the major players the book is centered around I was not surprised by the number of celebrities that partied there and while a few of the names mentioned will shock you most of them won’t Some may be moderately shaken by how many local athletes were participants but you really shouldn’t be A few notorious regulars were Rick James members of the classic rock group The Eagles and few politicians popped in and out as well maybe a famous Kennedy? – and of course some cast members from the wildly popular television show 'Miami Vice’One notorious dealer even landed a couple of guest spots on the show for providing the crew with trustworthy cocaine While the stage is set to look like everyone was having a good time partying drinking Dom visiting the fantasy suites there was a lot going on than meets the eye The Cuban immigrant issues that settled into the city in the 1980’s and the political climate with Cuba in general roiled just as intensely as it did two decades prior While the events that were transpiring in Miami may have helped inspire the Al Pacino movie ‘Scarface’ the movie was mostly shot outside of Miami and the author will explain those details but it mainly had to do with the fear of how Cubans would be portrayed in the film Still many thought they recognized themselves or others they knew in the film and weren’t particularly offended by it It’s crazy to think back on it all now Everything detailed in this book would have made for great television and movies which it did but it was very real very scary and a very dark piece of Miami’s history It was a dangerous situation shocking to the core as Americans watched it all play out in real time but now with the benefit of hindsight it seems even insane and hard to believe This book makes an excellent companion piece to the documentary ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ the producers of the documentary even provided the prologue for this book if you have seen it If not I highly recommend watching it and reading this book in no particular order because both will provide incredible look back at this part of America’s history Miami’s in particular FYI the documentary is available with Neflix streaming Overall this book focuses primarily on the Mutiny Hotel and the goings on connected to it but also delves into the city’s history political climate Cuba Columbia and the drug smuggling superstars and how it all came crashing down The author did a great job of organizing the material and helping to put names with faces so to speak and tells this riveting true crime saga in such a way you feel like you are seeing these events unfold in front of your very eyes Even if you remember hearing all about Miami's drug trade on the news ad nauseam in the eighties you didn’t get this inside version of events believe me You will feel the reverberations get caught up in a bit of nostalgia shake your head at the name dropping and gasp in horror at the ruthless double crosses and killings I can almost hear Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice theme song in my head as we speak This is an excellent true crime drama which will appeal to those of a certain age but I highly recommend it for younger readers too who will get a bit of unexpected history behind the sexiest city in America You will never look at the Miami skyline the same way again

  2. Olive Fellows (abookolive) Olive Fellows (abookolive) says:

    Ultimately there was far too much about the trials at the end for my liking but this is definitely one of those the truth is stranger than fiction type books The Cocaine Cowboys documentary is a good follow up if you find this topic interesting It's BRUTAL though just to warn youI talk about the soundtrack that was playing in my head the whole time I was reading this book over on my blog Olive the Books

  3. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    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 you know that's got 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 murderous as the law cracks down and informants are offered plea bargains I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that eventually the Mutiny becomes a shadow of its former self as do the aging Kingpins and Cocaine cowboys who are behind bars 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 personal insight Thank you to Penguin's First to read program for providing me with an advance copy for review

  4. Randal White Randal White says:

    Miami Vice The True Story What an excellent read Hotel Scarface is the story of the Mutiny Club a hotelclubrestaurant 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 freuented 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

  5. Jessica Jessica says:

    Thanks to Berkley Pub for the copy in exchange for my honest reviewI'm a huge nonfiction fan Especially if it's around true crime and drugs It's always been intriguing to me how that whole lifestyle iswas and HOTEL SCARFACE is about the 70's 80's when everything was at it's peak Drugs sex money The Mutiny club celebrities cartels Miami and the Cocaine CowboysGoing into this you should know that it is nonfiction and definitely of a history on the topic and time period This does not read like fiction If these are topics that intrigue you then this will definitely be up your alley Roben Farzad definitely did his homework I love the classic mafia movies Goodfellas Scarface Godfather and others so this lifestyle has always had my attention There are a lot of characters and people to follow in this book but Farzad did a fantastic job making them come to life I had many moments of wow this person exists or this really happened?? as I was readingI don't want to go into too much detail because I think it was fun going into it without too much background If you're like me and enjoy reading a factually saturated nonfiction book then this will be perfect for you If you're of a fan of the nonfiction written like a fiction book then this probably won't be for youI give this one 55 stars

  6. Julie Julie says:

    You might get a contact high reading this book It's very fast paced written in vignettes than a sweeping narrative It's jam packed with interesting characters many of them high or murderous oftentimes both The cast of characters includes cocaine kingpins international assassins CIA trained bombers an evangelical turned lipstick lesbian chauffeur to coke lords arms dealers the infamous merchant of death a serial killer and voodoo worshipper pirates a blinged out chimp and his human that inspired an Al Pacino classicThe author did a decent job of setting the scene but it felt like being told anecdotes at a cocktail party In the end I thought the book had tons of interesting information but no glue One central character would have provided that the one that is said to have inspired Tony Montana would have been great I mean a 1970s cocaine kingpin turned wildlife activist that inspired a cult classic and one of the most enigmatic protagonists in film history a missed opportunity if there ever was one Back in the day he had a compound with jungle cats and snakes and tarantulas and other creatures His life story would have made this story better It would have been the anchor that could have made this a sweeping narrative instead of a lunchbox of interesting tidbitsThe only real protagonist in this tale was Miami's Mutiny Hotel The hotel was like Disneyland for the rich and famous Everybody that was anybody made a cameo it seemed Movie stars rock stars television stars ironically the pastel clad Miami Vice stars sports icons politicians and drug lords all mingled at the Mutiny Of course law enforcement was there as well If you aren't familiar with yesteryears icons do yourself a favor and Google them as you go The name dropping in this book includes US presidents former First Ladies and other world leaders At one point Cuban exiles turned drug kingpins are let off the hook by a judge while future Bill Clinton US attorney general Janet Reno promises to get them When Ronald Reagan ran for POTUS with George Bush as his running mate two of Bush's sons hung at the Mutiny One of them was Jeb future Florida governor who had just moved to Miami from Houston and was working with prominent exile millionaires who kept tables at the hotel's clubOne of the myriad of characters the author introduces us to was the godmother of cocaine the female Pablo Escobar From Medellin Columbia she was killing the competition Literally She knew every line of The Godfather by heart and even named her son Michael Corleone Her syndicate was selling about 90 million wholesale cocaine a month to Miami She got her start as a pickpocket and prostitute in Medellin often just killing anyone she didn't want to pay or that gave her a bad glance Or ex lovers She infamously machine gunned her ex husband and his bodyguards She had an undergarment factory in Medellin that specialized in making bras and corsets with special compartments for female smugglers So many colorful characters like this are in this book But mostly it left me wanting to know About half way through the book I was wondering when the guy that was the main inspiration for Scarface's protagonist was going to make an appearance Mario Tabraue isn't even listed under the cast of characters though his bling clad chimp is A photo of Tabraue is included in the book supplied by Tabraue but not much else is attributed to him or about him in the book It seemed odd The only thing I can figure is he must have been a major off the record or background source for the author It's the only thing that explains why he barely gets a mention especially considering what a colorful character he was The author doesn't even mention if he did jail time he did if he ever got out he did or if he's even still alive he is Highly suspect Tabraue must have corroborated and supplied valuable intelligence in exchange for not being written about There is no other legitimate explanation for it How did the inspiration for Tony Montana not only make it out alive but end up having a normal sort of and productive life in the end The author missed the boat on this countMy initial impression of this story was that it was a companion piece to a book I read on Cuba Havana Nocturne when the mob and US government were in bed with Batista it was a much better read Once Castro kicked them US and mobsters out of bed Hotel Scarface was inevitable as Cuban exiles made their way to Miami with cocaine pre revolution Cuba had the world's highest per capita of cocaine use The irony was that exiles were just killing time in Miami waiting to return to a free Cuba The irony deepens when you consider that the US government being so tight with Batista had something to do with Castro's revolution I mean the US government was just as criminal as the mob when it came to Cuba pre revolution The US government was criminal on behalf of US corporate interests pre revolution and then really angry on their behalf afterward The irony that the US government ended up using Cuban exiles to run cocaine and arms while Nancy Reagan told America's youth to just say no is irony suared The description of the struggle to shoot the Oliver Stone film Scarface in Miami in the early 1980s was humorous In the end they shot it mostly in Los Angeles because things got a little dicey Cuban exiles and drug runners and dealers didn't want the attention of the movie so threats were made It got ugly It probably came down to insurance rates being too high as well as the intensity of the security detail that would have reuired a policeman sitting by your bed with an uziI had no idea what part the Scarface movie played into things Someone should do a movie about the making of that movie and the aftermath The movie when it came out in 1983 wasn't exactly a hit and was actually criticized as a lousy Godfather knockoff It took years before it had cult like status Those that were there in real life thought the film was pretty accurate Almost everyone claimed Tony Montana was based on them After the movie the Mutiny was filled with Tony Montana clones looking for their 15 minutes Even Pablo Escobar a wanted man in his country and ours made his way to the Mutiny as Bush future POTUS 41 was down the street at another hotel Many things struck me as small world department including one character's father in law that had been recruited to break into the Watergate Hotel About the last third of the book was about the Iran Contra affair and how it was a big part of the cocaine smuggling side of things It makes one wonder if smugglers hadn't been busted if we would ever have found out about Iran ContraThe most interesting part of the smuggling operation was that different drug lords hired the same crews One smuggler Coca Cola explained the Mutiny was the clearinghouse for those gigs sort of like how people hire workers outside of Home Depot It was announced last year that the Coen brothers plan to do a remake of Scarface but this time it will be a Mexican immigrant I think they are missing the boat on including the real story here that is the movie they should make Though I think the original tale was a remake of something but also inspired by original eventsIf you want to know about this time this is an excellent source If you are looking for a great read this might not be your cup of tea though it wasn't a bad read just not great

  7. Elaine - Small Farm Big Life Elaine - Small Farm Big Life says:

    First I have to say I thought this book was going to be fiction I had no idea that this was a true story account of the late 70's and early 80's in Coconut Grove Florida I didn't understand before I started reading that The Mutiny was a real place and that the characters in the book were real people sellingdoing drugs and living large during the early days of cocaine being imported into the USWay before Pablo Escobar stepped onto the seen in Miami there was a group of Cuban immigrants who imported and sold cocaine They could be found any night of the week at the exclusive Mutiny Club They did drugs partied with prostitutes and threatened to kill each other The story is told by waitresses clients drug dealers and cops who all hung out together at the MutinyGomez was still convinced the Monkey would blow him away with a flick of his wrist He imagined his head in a puddle of blood But Morales rapidly tucked his semiautomatic back into his pants His rival bolted but Gomez didn't put away his revolver 'Get the fuck out of here Ricky' he yelled to Morales panting almost hyperventilating 'Try If you even try to fucking come back' 'You know who you talking to?' shot back Morales snarling 'Do You Know?' He pulled back his coat to reveal a giant grenade on his belt It was practically the size of a Florida avocado The Monkey flashed a deranged grin and took his time walking out the front of the MutinySoon most of Miami Florida and the east coast knew what cocaine was and they were all doing it With such a huge demand there was room for lots of drug lords and they all chose to spend their free time in The Mutiny Eating drinking doing drugs and plotting against each otherThey were Miami's ruling drug lords With bullets flying everywhere there at all hours of the day the town was increasingly being called Dodge City And so these guys were it's cocaine cowboys the Latin masterminds of the era's go go wonder drug yeyo perch toot snow white pony Cocaine And The Mutiny was their favorite saloonThe drugs were sold and the cocaine was used the paranoid the drug lords began to get Soon they were all thinking about killing each other and being killed They jockeyed for position as the reigning drug king It didn't help when the movie Scarface was based on them and The Mutiny They all thought they were the lead character and vied for roles in the movie'It was a crazy time' said Mollie 'I knew Rudy and Carlene as friends Then all of a sudden you had to pick sides You never knew if they'd open fire in the club Things felt like they were just coming to a head between them'The era of decadence went on for years before law enforcement stepped in and began turning drug kings their families and body guards into informants Soon they were all ratting on each other and getting arrested By the early 80's a lot of The Mutiny's regulars were in jail Some of them even togetherAs The Mutiny lost it's high rollers it began to go down hill Soon the place was in disrepair Finally they had to file for bankruptcy and the federal government seized the property It was a sad ending for a place that saw Friday night net profits of 60000 at one time Hotel Scarface is a history lesson of how cocaine became popular in the US It tells the story of a height of glory for the men who brought it here the club they hung out in and then the demise of their way of life The first half of this book was excellent I could have done without some of the details in the middle but was glad I continued to read so I got to see how the story ended It was crazy to think about how easy it was to bring cocaine into the US during that time

  8. Really Into This Really Into This says:

    Derek contributed this review to Really Into ThisCheck out all of our reviews at Reading friendsHOTEL SCARFACE BY ROBEN FARZAD BOOK REVIEWHotel Scarface gives readers a detailed history of the cocaine market in Miami In an entertaining fashion Farzad educates readers on the many ways the cocaine trade contributes to the overall economy in MiamiMUTINY – THE RISE FALL OF THE HOTELThis brings us to the hotel the Mutiny We learn of the rise fall of the hotel As the cocaine trade hits it’s stride so does the popularity prestige of the Mutiny All the dealers freuent the spot You’ve got have a membership so it’s only the best of the best There are actors actresses athletes The classic movie Scarface even features a dance scene inspired by the Mutiny nightclub uickly the hotel becomes an impromptu office for many of the drug dealers Unbelievably there are even phone jacks at each table so you never miss a drug dealAs the market becomes saturated things slow down Many of the big dogs kingpins go to jail If you’re lucky enough to escape jail chances are death is imminent Almost overnight the cocaine fueled fast life comes to a screeching halt With it the stature of the hotel falls as well For many it’s a sobering reality THE VERDICTI am Really Into This book Hotel Scarface is a book about hustling glamour the reality of dealing drugs I would place it in true crime andor history category If you’re a fan Scarface or Blow you’re sure to love this novel Even though this is a non fiction book Farzad brings so much life to the story For me Hotel Scarface reads as an entertaining fiction novel It’s wild unreal even better because it’s trueSpecial thanks to Roben Farzad Berkley for providing our copy in exchange for an honest fair review

  9. Valerity (Val) Valerity (Val) says:

    This book is about the story of the Mutiny in Coconut Grove the exclusive club and hotel that much of the crazy decadence and violence of the cocaine cowboy times behind the movie SCARFACE 1983 sprung from that is so memorable The actual place has so many stories and people that inhabited it that it needed its story told about all that was going on there My mind is still spinning with all of the things that were happening there then and for a long time after the 70's when the boatloads of Cubans were kicked out and showed up along with all of the waves of cocaine that became such a problem too Not just anyone could get into the Mutiny This was an exciting read if you like true crime and the Scarface movie you really should give it a look I was given an ARC by NetGalley and the publisher

  10. Audrey Audrey says:

    I so so so wish this was a better bookI love learning about Florida in the 1980s and in fact the US in the 1980s because frankly I'm amazed any of us survived This book about not just cocaine dealing in late 70s early 80s Florida but about Cuba's Mariel boatlift and its operation Pedro Pan is fascinating in dealing with those detailsBut and I can't believe I'm saying this but the movie was better than the book Last I checked Netflix has the documentary Cocaine Cowboys available and it's way way better than this book The book is kind of rah rah for police and federal agents intercepting cocaine traffic which is awesome but the book kind of glosses over a lot of problematic behaviorAlso I am a massive Miami Vice fan and hoo boy did I learn a lot about how the show was based off of real life Miami cases Also that everyone on the show did cocaine Spoiler knew that Did not know how many of the episodes were based on real live occurrences in the hotel Holy catsAt the same time this book is really light on hotel and really heavy on and then they were all arrested died Which is less interesting A much better book on the time and place is Diary of a South Beach Party Girl or the documentary

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