Hotel Scarface
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...

Hotel Scarface Details

TitleHotel Scarface
Author
ReleaseOct 17th, 2017
PublisherBerkley Books
ISBN-139781592409280
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Crime, True Crime

Hotel Scarface Review

  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 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. 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 more personal insight. Thank you to Penguin's First to read program for providing me with an advance copy for review.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Berkley Pub for the copy in exchange for my honest review!I'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 is/was - 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 Cowboys.Going into this, you should know that it is nonfiction and definitely more of a history on the topic and time period. This Thanks to Berkley Pub for the copy in exchange for my honest review!I'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 is/was - 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 Cowboys.Going into this, you should know that it is nonfiction and definitely more 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 reading.I don't want to go into too much detail, because I think it was more fun going into it without too much background. If you're like me and enjoy reading a more factually saturated nonfiction book, then this will be perfect for you. If you're more of a fan of the nonfiction written more like a fiction book, then this probably won't be for you!I give this one 5/5 stars!
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  • Elaine -
    January 1, 1970
    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 selling/doing drugs and living large during the early days of cocaine being imported into the US.Way before Pablo Escobar stepped onto the seen in Miami there was a group of Cuban immigrants who i 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 selling/doing drugs and living large during the early days of cocaine being imported into the US.Way 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 Mutiny."Gomez 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 Mutiny."Soon 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 other."They 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 saloon."The more drugs were sold and the more cocaine was used the more 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 together!As 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 $60,000 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!
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  • Randal White
    January 1, 1970
    Miami Vice - The True Story! 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 Miami Vice - The True Story! 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!
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  • Roxanne
    January 1, 1970
    This is a Goodreads win review. I really loved this book. It is about the 70'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.
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  • Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley.com and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me an advanced copy for my review.Hotel Scarface is a well written novel chronicling the vast amount of characters during the Miami drug scene of the late 70s and 80s. Centered on the Mutiny Hotel, the author tells the stories of the rise and fall of many of the key players involved in the introduction and smuggling of cocaine. The facts, which include the lavished lifestyle of these criminals, are incredible and over the top. Thank you to Netgalley.com and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me an advanced copy for my review.Hotel Scarface is a well written novel chronicling the vast amount of characters during the Miami drug scene of the late 70s and 80s. Centered on the Mutiny Hotel, the author tells the stories of the rise and fall of many of the key players involved in the introduction and smuggling of cocaine. The facts, which include the lavished lifestyle of these criminals, are incredible and over the top. ProsThe author details a vast amount of interesting, entertaining, shocking, and humorous stories that will keep you glued to the book, while wanting more. The writer’s style is easy to read and gives you a sense that he conversing with you one on one. He provides a lot of information, so one will not need to know anything about the era prior to reading.ConsSince there are so many characters involved, it was extremely hard to accurately follow an individual’s storyline. Each chapter detailed numerous events, which could involve a large amount of participants. The author did provide a cast of characters at the beginning of the novel, which I suggest one refers too frequently while reading.RecommendationI would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in true crime, lifestyles in the 80s, fans of Scarface, and readers who like quirky and eccentric characters.
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsIn the late 1970s and 1980s the cocaine industry in Miami was booming. Movie stars, models, athletes, and even politicians flocked to the Mutiny, a club and hotel, where they could party alongside the drug kingpins. This book follows the rise and fall of the drug trade in Miami along with the eventual demise of the once popular Mutiny. I liked how this book revolved around the hotel and club but it also provided a good history on how the drug trade was started in Miami and was allowed t 3.5 starsIn the late 1970s and 1980s the cocaine industry in Miami was booming. Movie stars, models, athletes, and even politicians flocked to the Mutiny, a club and hotel, where they could party alongside the drug kingpins. This book follows the rise and fall of the drug trade in Miami along with the eventual demise of the once popular Mutiny. I liked how this book revolved around the hotel and club but it also provided a good history on how the drug trade was started in Miami and was allowed to thrive during this time period. The author was able to interview people close to the action like the waitresses, law enforcement, and even the drug dealers, and this led to many unique perspectives. While the book certainly is full of interesting facts it isn't exactly a page turner. It was hard to get into a real flow when reading because the book does bounce around among the cast of characters (there is a list provided for the major characters). Overall though I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in learning more about the drug trade during this time period.I received a free copy of this book from Penguin Random House but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    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, t 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.
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  • Ashley Hite
    January 1, 1970
    Cocaine cartels, girls, cash, guns, public shoot outs, police informants, and an appearance or two from Pablo Escobar himself, what else could you want? Roben Farzad's Hotel Scarface is a wild romp through the history of one of Miami's most notorious hotels, Mutiny. In the early 1980's Mutiny was the home and fantasy playground to the world's most infamous drug traffickers. Cocaine's popularity was on the rise and this misfit band of Cuban and Colombian refugees rode it all the way to the top ma Cocaine cartels, girls, cash, guns, public shoot outs, police informants, and an appearance or two from Pablo Escobar himself, what else could you want? Roben Farzad's Hotel Scarface is a wild romp through the history of one of Miami's most notorious hotels, Mutiny. In the early 1980's Mutiny was the home and fantasy playground to the world's most infamous drug traffickers. Cocaine's popularity was on the rise and this misfit band of Cuban and Colombian refugees rode it all the way to the top making millions of dollars, while enduring police surveillance, assassination attempts and indulging in all forms of illicit debauchery. The Mutiny's staff was there every moment to cater to their every desire, even while evading the not so occasional stray bullet. This hotel was the inspiration for Oliver Stones iconic movie classic, Scarface. Farzad's real accounts from the people who lived, and died, through this ruthless time in Miami's history is captivating. They say truth is better then fiction and this true tale delivers on all counts.
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  • Erin Cataldi
    January 1, 1970
    Holy hell was this an exciting and interesting book. True Crime doesn't get more "fun" than this. Hotel Scarface traces the origins of the Cocaine Cowboys in South Florida, their quick rise, the blizzard of users in Miami, and the amazingness of The Mutiny at Sailboat Bay. The Mutiny was where all the drug lords, smugglers, vixens, celebrities, and dirty cops hung out and my lord, to have been a fly on the wall there. The Mutiny was the hub in the early days of cocaine and even the movie, Scarfa Holy hell was this an exciting and interesting book. True Crime doesn't get more "fun" than this. Hotel Scarface traces the origins of the Cocaine Cowboys in South Florida, their quick rise, the blizzard of users in Miami, and the amazingness of The Mutiny at Sailboat Bay. The Mutiny was where all the drug lords, smugglers, vixens, celebrities, and dirty cops hung out and my lord, to have been a fly on the wall there. The Mutiny was the hub in the early days of cocaine and even the movie, Scarface, models itself off The Mutiny and the eccentric characters there. The cast of characters in this nonfiction history is extensive and can get a little overwhelming at times, but it is definitely worth getting through because this book is full of bizarre little tid bits and over the top lifestyles that could of course not be kept up forever. Extensively researched, wonderfully written, and compelling as hell, this is a must read!
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  • V
    January 1, 1970
    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 C 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.
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  • Karina
    January 1, 1970
    Cocaine was booming in Miami in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Everyone who was anyone went to the Mutiny Club and Hotel to party with the drug kingpins. Everything and anything went at the Mutiny. This book is so detailed you feel like you are right there. This book shows the rise and fall of the Drug Trade in Miami. It shows you what happened to bring down the so popular Mutiny. Hotel Scarface was very entertaining and a good read. I would recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in t Cocaine was booming in Miami in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Everyone who was anyone went to the Mutiny Club and Hotel to party with the drug kingpins. Everything and anything went at the Mutiny. This book is so detailed you feel like you are right there. This book shows the rise and fall of the Drug Trade in Miami. It shows you what happened to bring down the so popular Mutiny. Hotel Scarface was very entertaining and a good read. I would recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in the history of the drug trade in this timeframe. I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review
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  • Jessica Creason
    January 1, 1970
    Let me start off by saying that the premise of this book is really interesting, and I was very interested to read the author's stories. However, I just could not get into this book and the way it was written. I always finish books. I NEVER DNF, and I tried so hard to get into this one. I just couldn't do it, and I knew I had a zillion other books waiting for me and couldn't spend any more time on it. So, I had to put it down. Maybe I will pick it back up when I have more free time and a smaller Let me start off by saying that the premise of this book is really interesting, and I was very interested to read the author's stories. However, I just could not get into this book and the way it was written. I always finish books. I NEVER DNF, and I tried so hard to get into this one. I just couldn't do it, and I knew I had a zillion other books waiting for me and couldn't spend any more time on it. So, I had to put it down. Maybe I will pick it back up when I have more free time and a smaller list of books waiting to be read. I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • John H
    January 1, 1970
    This book seems to be well-researched, but it is not written in a way that is engaging to read. It comes across as mostly a dry recitation of facts without a strong narrative to bind everything together. There were many interesting characters in this Miami scene, and I think this book maybe could've been better if it had been a more in-depth study of one of them instead of small factoids about everyone.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoy this True Stories genre and "Hotel Scarface" did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the characters and story line, it seemed to be just the right length and well written. I'm very glad that I won this great book on GoodReads and like I do with most my wins I will be paying it forward by giving my win either to a friend or library to enjoy.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.Overall a fascinating book. There were some redundancies but not too distracting.
  • kathyrn
    January 1, 1970
    thank you netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for this true crime nonfiction ARC.
  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Loved the book. The only thing that would have made it better pictures. This was a Goodreads book that I won. LP
  • Norma
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read. I wasn't bored. An interesting story about Miami in the late 70s/early 80s.
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