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The Prince of Paradise: The True Story of a Hotel Heir, His Seductive Wife, and a Ruthless Murder Hardcover – April 16, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

From the provocative opening sentence ("When retired police chief James Scarberry heard in July 2009 that Ben Novack Jr. had been brutally murdered, with his eyes gouged out, he was not surprised."), true-crime veteran Glatt grabs the reader's attention. With a perfect amount of detail, he traces the sad life of Novack--whose father, Ben Sr., founded Miami Beach's legendary Fountainebleau Hotel--from an unhappy childhood to his death in 2009 at the age of 53. . . . This gripping account is proof that truth can be stranger--and far more disturbing--than fiction. (Publishers Weekly)

One of the finest true crime craftsmen writing today. (Harold Goldberg, VH1.com)

How do you say 'juicy' in French. (People Magazine on The Royal House of Monaco)

A real guilty Pleasure. (Entertainment Weekly on The Royal House of Monaco)

From the Inside Flap

Praise for author John Glatt:
"John Glatt is one of the finest true crime craftsmen writing today." --Howard Goldberg, VH1.com

"[Glatt] certainly comes through with the goods."--Library Journal

"[A] true crime page turner. --East Bay Express on The Doctor's Wife

"Author John Glatt goes behind the headlines and into the heart of this fascinating case." --Bookcrossing.com on Cradle of Death

"This is a great true crime book." --Bookreporter.com on Deadly American Beauty

"Definitive tales of a dozen sets of twins gone bad." --Twinstuff.com

"A blockbuster." --The Globe on Depraved

"An exhaustive account … A creepy but mesmerizing read." --Woman's Own on Depraved

"A shocking expose of clergymen who kill." --National Examiner on For I Have Sinned

"Fascinating reading." --Arizona Republic on Evil Twins

"Glatt…create[s] a mood of relentless darkness." --Crime Magazine

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250035724
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250035721
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Glatt is an investigative journalist with more than thirty years experience. In the last fourteen years he has written 19 true crime books and 4 biographies. With more than a million books currently in print all over the world, Glatt is acknowledged to be one of the best true crime writers working today.

A native of London, England, Glatt left school at sixteen and worked in a variety of jobs - including tea boy and messenger - before joining a small weekly newspaper outside London, where he honed his keen news sense. Over the next few years he freelanced for many national English newspapers, including The Daily Express, The Sunday People, The Daily Mail and Woman Magazine.

In 1981 he moved to New York, working on staff for News Limited, as well as freelancing for Newsweek, Omni, the New York Post, the Australian, Modern Business and other newspapers and magazines worldwide.

His first book Rage & Roll: Bill Graham and the Selling of Rock, was published in 1993 to critical acclaim. Two years later he wrote Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix, a well received biography on the tragic movie star. His next book, The Chieftains: An Authorized Biography, which was published in 1997, saw him nominated for a 2000 Grammy in the spoken word category. In 1998 wrote the well-received The Ruling House of Monaco: The Story of a Tragic Dynasty, uncovering many new revelations about the Grimaldis.

In 1998 he wrote his first true crime book, For I Have Sinned: True Stories of Clergy Who Kill. A year later he followed it up with Evil Twins, an anthology of twins that kill. And since then he has written a True Crime book a year for St. Martin's Press True Crime Library, establishing him as a master of the genre.

Over the years, Glatt has appeared on scores of television and radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Discovery ID, BBC World, and A&E Biography.

He and his jewelry designer wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains and London.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Let me just say quickly what I always am looking for when I read reviews of a true crime book: yes, the author tells the story of the victims and the their killer. No, it isn't just the story of the police investigation. (As any reader of true crime books will tell you, most police investigations make for books about as interesting as ditch water.)

Instead, this true crime book is a long, lovely, shocking, utterly unbelievable account of two murders, one of which was at first classified as an accident. And it's the true story - which you simply won't be able to put down - of the 'prince' of Miami beach, and his son, and his divorced wife.

Ben Novack created the Fontainebleau, the swankiest hotel and resort in Miami, which headlined famous stars such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis. He chose as his first wife the superstar model at the time, a redhead beauty who'd grown up in foster care.

They had a son, Ben Jr., but paid little attention to him when he was young. So Ben Jr. grew up as the prince of the Fontainebleau, shuffled between maids and limos, movie stars and the most expensive school in Miami. By the way, that school was where he became lifelong friends with Kelsey Grammer.

The Fontainebleau eventually went bankrupt, but Ben Jr. has inherited his father's impressive skills as a manager. He became a multimillionaire organizer of conventions.

He also had a loose interpretation of morality and marriage vows. I don't want to give away more details than this, but his lifestyle was jaw-dropping and his second marriage was to a woman with a lifestyle as outrageous as his own.

What fascinates me about true crime books is what drives anyone to commit murder.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Vol Fan on June 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to deduct one point though for no pictures in the kindle version. I assume there were none in the hardback also. With the high profile players, incredibly interesting backstory of the hotel during it's heyday, the mob and the celebrities' involved, there really should have been numerous pictures included.

That said, the story was very well written and very interesting. Particularly the history of Miami's early beginnings.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christine Arnemann on May 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This was a page turner. It is the type of book that makes you think after reading it. You wonder what makes people tick and what price they are willing to pay to be in control. A must read for True Crime enthusiasts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By dawnvolk on July 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written, exciting and unusual background. A book about history, glamour, multi-millions, infidelity, murder and justice. A page-turner that was so hard to put down!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By YellowBug on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Basically, this was a very interesting book and I'm glad I bought it. After reading this book, I went to the internet and looked up the characters to see what they looked like and also to look at the hotel itself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Allison Underwood on May 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being from this area, this was a terrific "behind the scenes" view of my hometown. I enjoyed understanding the archtectural history of Miami Beach.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Book Fanatic TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read a ton of books and a fair amount of true crime. This is simply a really good book. The story is interesting and the way Glatt tells it make for a very compelling read. I notice some of the reviewers said there was too much detail and background. What a load of crap. That's exactly what makes this such a good book. Any run of the mill book could simply report the highlights. This book tells the whole story starting with the history of the family which is critical to the character development and ending with the verdict and sentencing. If you don't like this book why are you reading true crime?

Extremely well done and highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Thorman on July 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not put this down. There is every element of crime imaginable, making this true story read like an exciting novel. You are taken through the glamour days of Florida becoming a hot spot for the rich and famous all the way through to the seedy underworld of drugs, prostitution and more. You won't regret purchasing this book. The author does a wonderful job of telling all if the details without once letting the story get bogged down or boring.
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