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

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  208 Ratings  ·  32 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 Narc
Paperback, 464 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by St. Martin's True Crime (first published June 26th 2012)
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♥ Marlene♥
Wow Just took a view of how how others see this book and it seems I am in the minority loving it.

First of all, I did not have a clue what this book was about other than that it was true and there would be a killing. That is the way I like to read.

So the first part dealt with Ben Novack Sr and how he began the Fontainebleau Hotel which I thought was really interesting.
After a few days of reading I started to wonder who is going to be the killer and who is going to be killed. Well I found that out
Jim Crocker
Jul 21, 2013 Jim Crocker rated it liked it
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
Sep 21, 2013 Sallee rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Mar 24, 2014 Don Gorman rated it liked it
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
Aug 16, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it
Another amazing book by the amazing John Glatt! I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book however I found myself not being able to put it down and jumped on it at every chance I got.
This book takes you through a 60 year journey of the Novacks and amazing it was. I was constantly on the edge of my seat reading this one! Growing up and living in South Florida, this story was able to come to life for me. Never a dull moment in this one!
Albert Stern
May 26, 2013 Albert Stern rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 12, 2014 Lisa rated it did not like it
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.
Shady people killed by by shady people. This is a stomach turning book filled with some vile people that were spoiled rotten and had no real care for people, just wanted what they could get out of them, which was their money and the use of their fame.
Well written.
Sep 07, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it
A great true crime read.
victor harris
May 18, 2013 victor harris rated it it was amazing
Reads like a novel and provides a fascinating look at the dark side of the rich and famous.
Oct 12, 2016 Moniki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tedious. Didn't finish it.
Jill Hutchinson
Dec 21, 2015 Jill Hutchinson rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
A guilty pleasure that I couldn't resist. This is the true story of the murder of Benjamin Novack Jr., son of the founder of the once finest hotel in Miami, the Fontainebleau. The hotel was the place to be for the rich and famous in the days before Las Vegas became the playground of America. Ben Jr. was raised in the hotel, mingled with people liked Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, and had everything but friends. A very strange child who grew up to be a strange man, he was a business maven and s ...more
Jun 21, 2013 Hal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 10, 2016 Lily rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014, dnf
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
Aug 05, 2013 Martha rated it it was ok
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
May 07, 2014 Joanne rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2016 Hope rated it really liked it
The first half of the book was a fascinating look at midcentury pop culture and Miami's luxury Fontainebleau Hotel. The hotel was the site of a Bond film, the Sinatra-Elvis special, and several of Sinatra's movies. Glatt's central focus, Ben Novack Jr., was the son of the hotel's founder. Benji grew up like Eloise at the Plaza, surrounded by famous people and spoiled. Glatt makes much of his parents' neglect as a source for Benji's darker tendencies, but I was unconvinced. No spoilers, but they' ...more
John Branney
Feb 16, 2015 John Branney rated it liked it
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
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.
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.
Jul 12, 2016 Sharon rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, true-crime
The information presented was fascinating - can't make this stuff up. I felt frustrated at the lack of depth of information in regards to the personalities of the players, especially Narcy and her family. I feel that more research into people involved would have been nice, in many cases the book is merely a copy of police reports and court transcripts. There was no follow up either - what happened to the money?
May 09, 2014 Rho rated it did not like it
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.
Melissa Larkin
Feb 15, 2014 Melissa Larkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 14, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
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 -
Sep 18, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 27, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very well written and was hard to put down. John Glatt is one of the best true crime writers!
Anda Oxman
Oct 27, 2015 Anda Oxman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story

Hard to believe this is true story. Great read. Could not put this book down. Glad the story ended as it should
Jan 15, 2015 Lenny rated it it was amazing
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.
Cyber rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2015
Irene Moyer
Irene Moyer rated it liked it
Nov 28, 2014
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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
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