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The Prince of Paradise: The True Story of a Hotel Heir, His Seductive Wife, and a Ruthless Murder

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Ben Novack, Jr. was born into a hotel empire, Miami's lavish Fontainbleau. But his luxurious, celebrity-studded lifestyle would ironically end in another hotel room--where the police found him bound up in duct tape, beaten to death.

Seven years earlier, police found Novack in an eerily similar situation--when his ex-stripper wife Na
Paperback, 464 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by St. Martin's True Crime (first published June 26th 2012)
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Jim Crocker
I was fascinated by the story of the Fountainebleau Hotel. I remember going there as a kid in the 50's. It was an amazing place. It was the coolest place I'd ever seen. Right away I wanted to spend the rest of my life in a hotel. But I didn't. To this day, however, there's nothing like spending time in a reaaaly nice hotel. Of course, I hardly leave home. It's got everything I need, but I sure do miss the helpful fellows in white coats bringing stuff and cleaning up.

The guests at the hotel seeme
If it were possible, I would have given this zero stars. It took a semi-interesting true crime piece, stripped it of all interesting features and substituted lurid ones, and then proceeded to be one of the worst-edited books ever. Major characters names are misspelled, often being spelled differently in the same paragraph. Pieces of the story repeat over and over. The book ends abruptly. Awful.
I found this book interesting. The son of the the builder and owner of the famous Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami grows up indulged in all things. As an adult, he was more than capable of business affairs and became wealthy in his own life. Because of his lifestyle, he never fully matured and was prone to tantrums. He was unable to maintain healthy relationships with his friends and in his love life. Although he was married to his last wife, Narcy, for a long time, the marriage was tumultuous and of ...more
Don Gorman
Wow! This is a true story? It just proves one more time that the truth is certainly stranger than fiction (unless you are Neil Gaiman). This is an engrossing book, these people are not very nice, even most of the victims. There is some interesting history and lots of evidence of corruption, greed and downright disregard for civility. Wealthy people behaving badly could be the subtitle but the investigative reporting is well done. A little dry at times and seemingly too knowledgeable at others, i ...more
Albert Stern
I grew up in Miami Beach and enjoyed the first 150 pages or so about the Fontainebleau in the 60s and 70s. But then the book becomes excruciatingly detailed about Novack Jr. and his wife, repetitive, endless. Maybe true crime aficionados like it that way, but it was much more than I cared to know. A much more enjoyable book about the hotel was Everything by Design, by Alan Lapidus, whose father designed the hotel.
Ben Novack, Jr., son of the founder of the world famous Fountainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, was raised in a glamorous lifestyle surrounded by musicians and movie stars, but pretty much ignored by his parents. When his father lost the hotel due to finances, Ben became wealthy in his own right. Unfortunately, he was a really peculiar guy with an obsession with all things related to Batman, a passion for the material trappings of wealth, strange sexual fetishes, and a manipulative, evil wife who w ...more
I am in quite the book funk lately- now having started and put down a THIRD book this year.

I loved Magic City on Starz and the beginning of this book is like watching the show all over again (clearly the Fountainbleu's history is what the show was based on) However, this book was SO poorly written. Entire thing was he said/she said- never any actual author interviews with any of the books characters. I felt like he was retelling the 2001 Ocean Drive interview and excerpting parts of Steven Gaine
John Branney
First off, the book was well written, kudos to the author. This was another one of those books that combine greed and stupidity, but this time for both the victim and the accused. There are hundreds of murders like this, you just have to watch the news. The difference in this case, the victim was semi-known and from a Florida - famous family.

I struggled with this book since I was unfamiliar with the murder case, the Fountainbleu Hotel and the characters. Stupidity won out in the end and the fum
victor harris
Reads like a novel and provides a fascinating look at the dark side of the rich and famous.
A great true crime read.
Though I live in the area and am certainly familiar with the famous hotel, now a converted resort residence, I was not aware of the story behind the murders. The book presents a fascinating history of the founding of the Fontainebleu Hotel by Ben Novack and the struggles to keep it in the family.

Ben Novack Jr. the son and mother are murdered by his second wife and her brother in an attempt to take over what remained of the family fortune. Ben Jr. despite his nature as a spoiled only child did su
I would give this book a zero if I could. The first part of the book giving the history of Miami Beach and how the hotel business was developed was very interesting. Then we get to Jr. The book became predictable and reading about this dysfunctional family was tedious and boring. I did not finish the book.
parent ben and maxine novack built world famous hotel, early 50s in miami florida. many stars of that era performed and helped make place famous. the son ben jr. grew up in hotel in luxury suite on 17th floor. he could do anything he wanted as staff was afraid of father. once went into kitchens and ordered head chef to give him ice cream. chef told him to have someone else get it for him. kid told chef he was fired and when daddy said if kid fired him then he was fired. this was chef in charge o ...more
Read like fiction.....incredible story of wealth, greed and corruption at its finest. in Florida, I enjoyed reading about Miami Beach and the history of this hotel.
Melissa Larkin
As my first true crime read, I have to say it was very engrossing to read. Also it made me sad to think that they're are some serious twisted people out there that would do almost anything to get money and riches. Was definitely impressed with John Glatt's novel that I'm definitely interested to see what else he has written.
Excellent true life murder story. Almost too far out to be true. Hats off to John Glatt the author for organizing all the juicy tidbits of the story.
Amazing true story - the facts kept me interested all the way to the end.
Melissa Peltier
Glatt is a polished and evocative writer, and this book shines in the first third, when giving the colorful history of the rise of Miami Beach and the Fountainbleau, as well as the downfall of the Novack family. But once it gets into the nitty gritty of the crime, the book loses its magic and its momentum. All the characters are so despicable, there's no one to root for. It's just a tragic tale of ugly, greedy people doing ugly, greedy things - both victims and perpetrators alike.
Jun 06, 2013 S M added it
Very compelling story that reads like fiction, but is unbelievably true. The book is at its best when focusing on the history of Miami Beach's iconic Fontainebleu Hotel, and its owners Ben & Bernice Novack. When it shifts into the murders of Bernice Novack and her son, Ben Jr., it seems that the book needed one more go-round with editing. Still enjoyed it, though, and would absolutely recommend it to aficianados of true crime.
I have always been interested in people who seem to "have it all." In this case the victim makes such horrible choices in his life that it is no wonder he falls in with a goldigger. It's a summer read -
Andd Becker
Fascinating account of the lives of mogul Ben Novack Sr. and his son Benji.
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English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and Found, Secrets in the Cellar, Playing with Fire, and many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 years of experience as an investigative journalist in England and America. Glatt left school at 16 and worked a variety of jobs—including tea boy and messenger—before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English ...more
More about John Glatt...
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