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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2014
Wow; what a rollercoaster of emotions this brilliant book was. I read Marching Powder a few months ago and there are similarities in respect of what the inmates can have and do compared with western prisons, but where-as marching powder was based around one man's story in a Bolivian prison, Hotel K tell's the stories of lot's of it's inmates, guards and visitors. Some of them high profile, like Ronnie Ramsay (Gordans brother) the Bali 9, the Bali bombers and Schapelle Corby. Hotel k: Kerobakan prison in Bali has got to be one of the most corrupt, soul breaking places on earth, and for the people it holds eye opening and life changing. Some are on death row, some have life sentences, 20year sentences for crimes, in other countries seem petty; some are innocent. In Hotel K it's all about money. If you have the money to pay off the police, the judges, the guards your sentence can be greatly reduced and life can be much easier, if you cannot pay drug smugglers can expect a firing squad if they are caught. The corruption and injustice of it all will make you angry and sad for those who are living the nightmare which is Hotel K, but there are also funny stories. The thing's they do to pass the endless hours can be hilarious. I really enjoyed reading this and highly recommend it, but, be warned, there are graphic details of drug use, sex and violence so be prepared for that.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2014
I read Hotel K almost without stopping. It is a totally absorbing read and I have been googling this nightmare jail since finishing. Amazing stuff is revealed in this book, including an escape where almost all prisoners run away, and the sex nights with hookers, snakes as pets, a prisoner who cut off a man's head and keeps the sword under his mattress, Gordon Ramsay's brother and the king of bali both do time. This is a rat infested hellhole with some interesting inmates and many westerners with money who can pay for food, drugs, sex and pretty much whatever they want.Warning though, this book is not for the squeamish or faint hearted. I recommend it to anyone who loves to lose themselves in a great book and be transported to another place. This place is a dark but also sometimes hilariously funny.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2011
One of the best and most shocking books I have ever read! Anyone that goes to Indonesia MUST read this book as it paints a true picture of corruption and pain that one should never have to endure!
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2011
only word i could think of to describe this book..........very well written, you can picture the scenes which i always think is a good thing in a book........it is hard to believe places like this exsist and would be funny if it wasn't so sad.....buy it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2012
Hotel K has most certainly got some strange and interesting characters, which at times was sickening and was a real insight into the jail in Bali. It is quite a pacy story and has elements of an action and thriller type book as you learn more and more about what goes on in "Hotel K". I did find it a gripping read and look forward to a new book from the author called "Snowing in Bali".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2012
Hotel K is a really well written and interesting story that grabbed my attention almost straight away. It is quite funny in places and there was fascinating inmate was 'black monster' who got pregnant to a Scottish inmate through the bars of her cell. This story will appeal to quite a wide audience and is most certainly eye opening in places.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2013
I loved this book. It is a scintillating page turner from start to finish with astonishing insights into the drugs, and corruption inside the Bali jail with prisoners able to pay for almost anything like having hookers come in, or Bose sound systems and plasma tv's installed in their cells. Prisoners can also pay for days out. One young Italian guy pays to go to the beach with jail guards wearing his board shorts, and his mum carrying their guns in her beach bag. Another Brazilian goes to the beach for a beer and a surf and the book has photos of him drinking on the beach with the guards. There's a lot of pretty graphic details about sex in the jail, including hooker nights in empty cells and under the stars. It has some very dark moments but also some moments that made me laugh out loud. The writer has a great style and also uses a lot of direct quotes from the prisoners. This is now my favourite book by a long shot. I really didn't want it to end. I'm about to start reading the author's new book Snowing in Bali which I'm told by my husband who's just finished it that it is also riveting.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2012
I purchased this to read over the X-mas holidays, but as soon as It arrived I just had to read it. I guess I should have waited and got the kindle edition. Right from the off this had me hooked. I could not put it down. It was gripping full of corruption and pain. This was well written and I loved every page. I will be reading this one again. Happy to recommend this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2012
I really enjoyed reading this book as I am always intrigued by the prison system's abroad, and more importantly the situations people get themselves into while abroad, whether a pro (loosely speaking) or just plain unlucky.

I became interested in this book after being recommend "No more tomorrow's" the story of Schapelle Corby, which I am yet to read, as this is the book written by the author who helped Schapelle write her story - with Hotel K being based around numerous inmates.

I warmed to many of the inmates featured in the story - even if some of them that had the chance did not learn their lesson! And I was disappointed to finish it and not be able to hear more about them. There is a piece at the end updating you on where they all were at time of print, which was nice.

I was very interested in the small piece about Ronnie Ramsey (Gordon Ramsey's brother) having read a little about that in Humble Pie.

My only criticism was sometimes the lay out skipped around a bit and you didn't always grasp where things fitted chronologically.

I would recommend to anyone who likes Marching Powder as although the system in Hotel K is not quite as bizarre - it's not far off!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2013
This book tells the story of the Bali's most notorious jail which I like to think about as 'hell on Earth'. Quite ironically, it is located just outside the heavenly Bali beaches and tourist resort. In this book you will find everything that is wrong with this world: murder, drugs, drugs-trafficking, terrorism, addictions, suicide, fatal beating, corruption, sex parties, rape, corruption, depression, madness, malice, AIDS...there is also a story of one of the prisoners hacking someone's head with a machette or one of the prisoners setting another on fire. Human rights are non-existent in Hotel K. The story is told from the prespective of the prisoners who share their tales and reflections with us. I would like to share some of my reflections now too. I believe it is better to be dead than spend the rest of one's life in a jail like this. That - though - might be the point, as the punishment is severe. Sometimes - too severe and almost always unfair.The justice system is corrupted to the core and that explains how a prisoner caught trafficking 400g of heroin gets a death penalty and a richer one caught trafficking couple of kilograms only ten years. Then there is a story of Shapelle - an Australian caught trafficking couple of kilos of marijuana into Indonesia. Just getting acquainted with the facts of her case persuades me of her innocence. Why would you try to traffic drugs worth 20,000 in Australia to Indonesia where you could buy them for 4,000? Her trial was a joke as vital evidence was burnt. Her pleads for fingerprints testing, weight measuring, CCTV observations...went unanswered.
Interestingly enough, a while ago I published a review of 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert. In that review, I wrote that Bali is definetely a place I would like to visit after reading her story. Well, not anymore. And to every friend who wants to go I would give that book to read.There is always a very slight chance that someone could plant drugs into your bag. Given that judges do not look into facts and the only way not to get a long sentence isto throw $ at them - the risk is simply not worth taking.
Last but not least, I do not believe that anyone caught trafficking drugs deserves a life sentence in a place like this.Sure, most of the time it was their choice to traffic those drugs but no human being derserves to spend time there. Ironically enough, Hotel K is the place where you could buy the cheapest heroin and most of the prisoners are addicted or become addicted once in jail. Guards turn the blind eye and in some cases do drugs too. More interestingly, even murderers and rapists walk free sooner than drug traffickers.The country should be ashamed of itself and never before have I been happier to be European.
Don't give this book a miss. There is a good chance you will give Indonesia a miss after reading it.
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