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Baked: A Novel Paperback – August 3, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Smith (Moist) misfires with this attempt at a darkly humorous crime novel, which opens with the shooting of botanist Miro Basinas in Los Angeles. A month earlier, Basinas traveled to Amsterdam to enter the Cannabis Cup, a major international cannabis competition, which his strain, Elephant Crush, ends up winning. His valuable commodity attracts predators, and while recovering in the hospital from his bullet wound, he learns someone has stolen the seed supply of his brand. Various improbable characters enter the action, notably Shamus Noriega, a half-Salvadoran, half-Irish gangster, who provides weed to medical marijuana centers, and Mormon elder Daniel Lamb, who struggles with his sexual urges and winds up abandoning his church to work at a taco truck ("people didn't need dogma, religion, or special underwear; people needed a good burrito"). Potheads will have fun, but others may find Basinas's quest for revenge less than compelling.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

L.A. botanist Miro Basinas prides himself on the quality of his latest batch of homegrown marijuana, Elephant Crush, a wickedly strong pot that tastes like mangoes. When he wins the prized Cannabis Cup competition in Amsterdam, he feels like he has finally hit the big time and is on his way to breaking into the top echelon of cannabis breeders, able to sell his seeds to growers everywhere. His cerebral approach to farming in no way prepares him for the warfare heading his way when the greedy owner of a chain of medical marijuana dispensaries decides to steal Miro's plants and take him out. The cast of outré characters in Smith's latest outrageous blend of gross-out comedy and grotesque violence includes a paramedic with a taste for kinky sex, a young Mormon missionary struggling with his impure thoughts and his sacred underpants, and a vicious gangbanger and his moronic “helpers.” Although the plots of Smith's novels (including Moist, 2007) often read like the work of someone who is entirely baked, connoisseurs of absurdist humor will find him working at the top of his game here. --Joanne Wilkinson
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat; First Edition edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802170765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802170767
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,155,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Haskell Smith is the author of five novels, Moist, Delicious, Salty, Baked, and Raw: A Love Story. He has also written the non-fiction books Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup and Naked At Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist's Adventures in an Clothing-Optional World.

His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Vulture. Smith is an assistant professor in the MFA program for Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert Graduate Center.

He lives in Los Angeles. He likes Mexican Food.

www.markhaskellsmith.com or www.heartofdankness.tumblr.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tony DuShane on September 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
There were so many times I laughed out loud reading this at a cafe, people came up to me to find out what I was reading.

When I heard the book had to do with the Cannabus Cup in Amsterdam, medical pot growers in Los Angeles and Mormons, I couldn't wait to see if Haskell Smith could pull it off....and he pulls it off with perfection.

I don't want to give too much away because there are so many gems in the characters, and actually the similarity of spirituality between religion and growing pot.

I've read every book by Haskell Smith, all of them funny, but he definitely has topped himself with this one. It's one of those novels where I have to write notes in the margins and underline standout sentences. It also reads with a swiftness that feels like a great six hour film.

It's a refreshing fun read in a literary world that sometimes takes itself too seriously.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Atkinson on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Baked" has got to be Mark's best work yet. It is completely wild and funny and at the same time the writing is very tight and clean. He has incredible characters in unimaginable circumstances and he pulls it all off like it is completely natural. A lesser writer might try to use Mark's type of material to flash and awe the reader, distract them from the actual writing. Mark doesn't do that, though. The insane aspects are fully integrated with all the necessary components of a good story. They contribute to the whole rather than distract or prop up. Mark really roars on all cylinders in this book. Anyone who doesn't read it is seriously missing out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mikey D on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you love Carl Hiassen, then you will love this book. It is hilarious, well written, and impossible to put down. Smith uses humor and the ridiculous to make statements and deliver societal messages. This book is highly entertaining, but not slapstick stupid because of the author's prose and his ability to tell a story. The characters are also vivid people from all walks of life who are most interesting. Highly enjoyable, you will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Meeks on October 18, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm new to Kindle, so when I got it just over a week ago, I was ready to buy buy buy. When I saw the "get a sample" button, I decided to get many samples instead. I downloaded samples of Sara Gruen's "Ape House" and Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom", which I still have to try. That's because a friend suggested Mark Haskell Smith's "Baked," and I became swept up with that. She said he has a similar style to my own novel "The Brightest Moon of the Century."

I'll disagree with her. While perhaps a comic sensibility may be at work in our novels, Smith's book is different. I swept through the sample quickly and had to buy the whole thing. In a weekend when I had so much to do, I read "Baked." The novel is a deft marriage of mystery, romance, and marijuana.

In "Baked," a young man named Miro never had a particular talent or drive until he discovers he was great at botany, particularly in improving marijuana. His hero is Floyd Zaiger, the man who invented the pluot, which is a cross between a plum and an apricot. Miro has created a strain of pot that is rich in THC, yet is mellow to smoke and has a taste of mango. Miro enters his strain in Amsterdam's Cannibis Cup--and wins.

The story takes off in another direction when Miro returns to California. He expects his strain to be popular at the cannibis clubs, the outlets for medical marijuana--but he's shot, left for dead, and all his seeds and plants stolen. When he recovers, he needs to find out who did this to him, yet he's up against criminal experts.

Unknown to him is that back in Amsterdam, the beautiful Portugese scientist he met and slept with is pregnant. She's trying to find him, and as he's recovering from his shooting, he realizes how his time with her had been special--no one like her ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James N Simpson on October 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Not quite in the same masterpiece league of Haskell Smith's first novel Moist, but it's still a fun read. Although Baked is good, it does get a little preachy though with the angle from all his characters that crime will be pretty much non existent with the legalisation of marijuana and other drugs. It sort of needed characters arguing the other side of the debate to feel you were getting the facts and could decide for yourself, without the feeling of being lectured to. None of the character even the police or paramedics are arguing the other side that the two legal drugs today alcohol and cigarettes cause of a lot of problems in society, with those under the influence of alcohol committing a lot of crimes which you would assume a bigger usage of drugs if they were legal would do the same thing.

Basic plot is Miro, a passionate horticulturalist has travelled to Amsterdam to win the Cannabis Cup. Problem is though no Dutch cafes are interested in sponsoring an American. If this was the worst of his problems to come, he'd be lucky. Unfortunately it's not. Legal medical marijuana retailer chain owner Vincent, wants to maintain his almost monopoly on the weed industry. He knows Miro's superior Elephant Crush will take a lot of his customers. So he's hired Shamus, a red headed kid that none of the gangs wanted, whose now older and with a shaved head thinks he's tougher than anyone. Shamus doesn't mind shooting people that get in his way so is happy to put a bullet through Miro. Shamus has an even dumber couple of side kicks including one who dresses in a yellow tracksuit thinking and likes to drug women so he can have his way with them. Throw in some Mormons and you've got another eccentric character fun filled read.
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