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Summary

The last pill and testament from Britain's most famous and well-loved drug smuggler, Howard Marks.

Howard Marks is the most famous drug smuggler of his age and a hero to a generation. On his release from one of America's toughest prisons, Howard made a promise to himself to go straight. No more drugs, no more smuggling, no more fake passports. He would retire to a quiet life with his family in the Balearic Islands of Spain. It didn't quite work out that way.

This was the mid-'90s - the height of the ecstasy and clubbing boom - and Ibiza was at the very centre of the vortex for the "E generation". Pills had taken the place of marijuana, Paul Oakenfold had replaced The Rolling Stones as the music of the masses and every year an army of Brits headed south to lose themselves to the excesses of the island's increasingly wild clubs.

It wasn't long before Howard found himself trying pure ecstasy and rubbing shoulders with some of the kingpins of the pill trade, including some of Britain's most notorious gangsters, who were laundering millions of pounds of gold stolen in the legendary Brink's-Mat bullion raid. As Britons descended on Ibiza ahead of one of the greatest summers of the decade, Howard was preparing for his most outrageous operation yet.

Incredibly funny, moving and scabrous, Mr Smiley follows a journey to the heartland of the clubbing and British crime scene. It is also a fitting last word from one of Britain's best-loved bad boys.

©2015 Howard Marks (P)2015 Bolinda

What listeners say about Mr Smiley

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Poorly narrated, better to read the hard copy

Poor narration an insult to Howard Marks. What should have been a beautiful, silky Welsh voice was instead a gruff voice with terrible timing and interrupted flow. Otherwise very interesting sequel to Mr Nice. Needs to be re narrated

2 people found this helpful

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A sobering account

Having only just listened to this in 2019; knowing of Howard’s departure from this mortal plain; it was quite a bitter sweet pill to swallow - pun intended.

As an avid fan of Mr. Nice, The Book of Dope Stories and Senior Nice - I was waiting for the right time to indulge in Howard’s latest and final accounts.

The story, as always, was fascinating and well written. Every last detail made the experience as enjoyable as ever.

My only disappointment was the realisation that in fact, Howard was to only narrate the introduction.

I struggled to gel to Larry’s gruff, guttural tones but eventually was able to become absorbed and ignore the fact it wasn’t Howard speaking. None the less, still disappointed as I’d loved listening to him in other audio books.

I can only assume he was unfortunately too poorly to narrate as he sounds tired in the intro.

I was lucky enough to meet Howard on several occasions and also converse over email about material for a book; Tripping; he’d devised years ago that never came to fruition.

It was sad to think, as the final pages of this book were read by Larry, that these were the last words to be written by Howard and last words if his I’d be able to enjoy.

Recommended to any fans of Howard or accounts of crime and debauchery....

1 person found this helpful

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RIP Howard Marks

What a crazy life this legend lived. Another rollercoaster ride of spliff smoke, MDMA comedowns and plane rides all over Europe and beyond.

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Not bad at all

Not a bad book at all quiet enjoyed it some interesting story's to be had.

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great to listen

great to listen to I would defo recommend it to any one good story makes u want to listen to more 👌

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Great Follow Up To Mr Nice

Really enjoyed this book, sad that he suffered with cancer whilst writing this book, it was a fitting book that tells of his time following his release from Terre Haute Prison. Showing how quickly life, crime and smuggling can change is a relatively short amount of time.

As for the Narrator, his voice and reading added
to the story!

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“” Life’s a juggle””

This was my first audible book to be fair my first ever book or literature I have ever had the desire to finish fantastic experience with juggling at the top of the menu
Thanks would of loved to have shared the high times

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4. 5 stars. Would highly recommend :)

The first point I would make is that the book is not actually narrated by Howard (unlike Mr Nice) which I was disappointed about at first. This feeling was short lived however as Larry Love does an excellent job of narrating the story with has similar raw, gravely, voice.

The book offers an extremely interesting insight into the world and workings of international drug smugglers. Howard explains the dynamics of various scams that he ran later in his life, as well as portrayals of the other actors involved. Rather than simply saying that he moved X across from Y country, he explains how it X was first sourced, how it was processed, what it was transported with and by which route etc. Just as captivating are Howard's portrayals of his colleagues and other prominent criminal figures, from global Ecstacy kingpins to reserved, uber-professional traffickers. Intertwined around all of this Howard weaves his own thoughts and feelings, laying bare to the reader his anxieties, successes and shames.

My only criticisms of the book are that there can, at times, be a lot of names. I'm usually very good at following stories and films, but I did find having to pause on occasion and consider 'who was that again?', 'where have we met him before???'. Not a major point though and it comes with territory I suppose! The only other small criticism is that the story can feel a bit rushed at times, either leaving the reader having difficulty to keep up, or slightly unsure of the implications of a given event.

Overall I would highly, highly recommend this book to anyone and I am pleased thst I found it. Looking forward to a re-listen :)

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Typical of previous books written by Howard Marks

Would you recommend Mr Smiley to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes if you liked his other works otherwise id say it was not as good as previous titles like Mr Nice

What three words best describe Howard Marks and Larry Love ’s performance?

Welsh, rough and authentic.

Did Mr Smiley inspire you to do anything?

Look after myself more.

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Local hero?

A fellow Welshman, I enjoyed Mr Nice, and liked that Mr Marks stayed away from dealing hard drugs. This story though just shows that no matter your good intentions, the lust for easy money can alter someone's morals.