What happens in Miami Beach stays in Miami Beach—or at least until Gaines showed up.
For many casual observers, Miami conjures up images of beaches and retirement homes, but those familiar with the city’s inner workings know the area is about three things: money, power and more money. This high level of gimme-gimme isn’t exactly a new phenomenon; the eternally warm and sunny metropolis has been attracting greedy showbiz heavies, petty criminals and straight-up mobsters since the days of Al Capone. A truly flexible journalist whose previous books have covered topics as diverse as the Beach Boys (Heroes and Villain, 1986), decadence in the Hamptons (Philistines at the Hedgerow, 1998) and real estate in Manhattan (The Sky’s the Limit, 2005), Gaines is at ease with all aspects of his subject, drifting easily between Miami’s past and present. The author conveys the historical background breezily and informatively, and his obsession with real-estate development rarely slows the momentum. Gaines also loves his characters, no matter how flawed they may be. His portraits of old-school hoteliers Ben Novack and Harry Mufson, mercurial businessman Michael Capponi and über-wealthy developer Stephen Muss are compelling and nonjudgmental. His colorful snapshot of the weirdness that is Miami Beach will forever color your view of the Sunshine State.
Original, gossipy and flat-out fun—will either have you booking the next flight or scare you off the place altogether.