Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana

The Los Angeles Marijuana War

Fiction - Suspense
304 Pages
Reviewed on 02/04/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

Arik Kaplan, the author of Mayhem, Murder, and Marijuana says that his name is a pen name. That is a very good idea. I believe this book is based on true events and real people. Maybe everything didn’t happen exactly like it is portrayed in this novel, but somehow, at some time, these things happened. I believe that because I have met people like these. I have witnessed similar messed-up situations and even done similar dumb things. I kept waiting for some portion of this book to not ring true. I kept waiting for a mistake, something that would tell me that this was just a good writer with a great imagination, but the story was just made up. I didn’t find that mistake. From Davos in the Philippines, to Las Vegas, to Los Angeles, all places I have been in my life, Arik Kaplan told it like I remembered it. This book is awesome! It gave me the same feeling I got reading my first Elmore Leonard novel.

The plot of Mayhem, Murder, and Marijuana is good. It’s going to make an awesome movie, and I have no doubt that someone will acquire the rights. I hope it’s the same person that placed John Travolta in Get Shorty. The plot is good, but the characters are even better. They are so diverse, but oh so real. They are portrayed here with a master’s touch. You will love them. You will hate them. You will laugh at them and you will cry for them. I loved this book. It was the best surprise I’ve had in a long time. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. I hope the director does it as much justice as Arik Kaplan did.

Romuald Dzemo

Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War by Arik Kaplan is a suspenseful and exciting story that follows the protagonist’s adventures in the marijuana industry. This book explores the hurdles and the challenges he faced when he decided to invest heavily in legal dispensaries. Apart from the legal uncertainties of the business, there is cut-throat competition from clandestine growers and those who illegally peddle marijuana on the streets of California. Now, the reader is plunged into a setting where violence rules the streets and where uncertainty lurks around every corner. Question is: can he thrive in such a market? Readers will enjoy this ride, and will gain powerful insights from the author while understanding the nuances involved in the marijuana business.

This book is highly entertaining and very informative, the first book I have read that brings to readers the very nature of the market and the dangers that come with it. I felt connected to the narrator when he started speaking of Davao and the wonderful encounters, especially the one with his friend who’d wanted to be a Jew. The setting in Davao checks out well as it is a place I have been. The author is a great storyteller and his masterly use of humor brings a lot of life into the narrative. Readers will find themselves smiling or laughing most of the time. Listen to this comment about the Los Angeles weather: “Los Angeles weather is like an obituary; the local newspapers always had something positive to say about it.” Overall, the story is well-written and there is a beauty in the prose that makes it enjoyable in itself. Arik Kaplan’s Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War is both informative and entertaining.

Viga Boland

If ever a novel was appropriately titled, Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana by Arik Kaplan is it. What a read! Those who are curious about what goes on behind the scenes, both legally and illegally, in the distribution and selling of marijuana will get a first hand look from an author who knows what he is talking about. Though a work of fiction, Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana is based on fact, so much so that the author, for the sake of his own security, has chosen to write under a pseudonym. If his identity were discovered, he might indeed suffer the same ugly fate that many of his characters do. There are a lot of violent endings in the warring turfs of this highly competitive market, especially on the illegal side.

Speaking of characters, prepare yourself: this novel has a massive cast! You might find yourself overwhelmed with new people constantly coming into the story, but don’t give up too quickly. The characters who matter, like Bing, the physically unattractive, uneducated but street-smart criminal marijuana king who’s constantly high, shagging blondes, rolling in dollars and constantly in debt will keep you wondering what craziness he will try next. On the other side of the scale is Adam Copland, handsome, filthy rich, and with a stunning wife whose legs he adores. He is a respected businessman who owns several legal marijuana dispensaries. When fate brings these two into an eventual face-off, readers will keep turning pages to see which side will win. The ending is both satisfying and surprising, but you’ll have to read Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana to find out why. No spoilers here.

While, for the most part, thanks to lots of dialogue and colorful characterization, the novel moves along at a fast pace, there is sometimes an excessive amount of background detail on too many characters. Also, Arik Kaplan is obviously highly educated and comfortable with his very large vocabulary. His readers might not be. So browse through the pages of Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

Arya Fomonyuy

Arik Kaplan’s Mayhem, Murder, and Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War is a fascinating story that takes readers on a ride into the medical marijuana industry and an exciting setting. When Kaplan, an astute businessman, learns that many people are investing heavily in marijuana, he can’t resist the urge to try. So, he starts buying MMJ dispensaries and in what is considered the largest MMJ market in the world — Los Angeles. Now, he discovers the dirty part of the business and learns from close quarters about the dangers involved in it — greed, stabbings-in-the-back, and even murder. Can anyone survive a lucrative business environment where the stakes are high and where the competition can be very deadly?

This is a well-written book about a very cotroversial business, and readers will enjoy the path the protagonist travels. The narrative is punctuated by powerful and interesting dialogues as well as touching social commentaries. The setting of this book is exciting and readers encounter compelling and memorable characters. It is interesting to follow the protagonist as he navigates a slippery legal path. The first person narrative voice is well done and it gives an intimate tone to the story. Arik Kaplan has the unusual gift of making readers feel his characters and touch the very soul of the story. The pacing is good and measured, and the humorous style adds a lot of juice to the story. Mayhem, Murder, and Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War is a compelling read that deals with the excesses in the marijuana business and it is an interesting and focused story.

Rabia Tanveer

Mayhem, Murder, and Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War by Arik Kaplan is a fictional novel based on actual events in the life of the author. Arik Kaplan started purchasing MMJ (medical marijuana) dispensaries when there was a huge increase in the popularity of investing in this business. He has used real life events to create the basis of this fictional novel, and offers a thrilling and action packed story that had me on the edge of my seat and biting my nails until the end.

The novel follows the story of Adam Copland, a man with flaws that he admits and he does not pretend to be anything else. He is a wealthy man who is a medical marijuana dispensary owner. He grows marijuana legally and is proud of what he has accomplished. However, his life is far from perfect! Even though he makes a lot of money from his business, his life is threatened by the “street thugs” who want him to stop so that their illegal businesses can prosper. But these thugs are just the least of his worries. There is a kingpin who wants the field clear for himself and he is not scared of taking any chances to make it happen, even if it means murder. What will Adam Copland do? How will he survive?

This novel is incredibly intense and action packed. Adam was far from a model citizen, but these are the things that make him real. Not everyone in our lives is perfect and amazing. We all have good and bad inside of us; however, they don’t define us. I loved Adam’s character development and I appreciated the author's point about medical marijuana. I enjoyed the writing style and the narrative as well. The story was very well-structured and thought out. I loved it!

Divine Zape

Anyone else might have resisted the lure, but not the business-minded Arik Kaplan. To know that investors are making a killing in the marijuana business and to stay aloof was inconceivable for him. So, naturally, he decides to invest in MMJ dispensaries, but what he doesn’t know is that this is dangerous ground — even if the business is lucrative — and he will find himself plunged into a world where people kill to get ahead, where dishonesty thrives, and corruption is the watchword. But can he survive, given the not-so-clear legal implications of the market? Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War by Arik Kaplan takes the reader on a dangerous and exciting ride into the turbulent Los Angeles marijuana business world, a world fraught with danger and uncertainty.

Suspenseful and gripping, Arik Kaplan’s Mayhem, Murder & Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War is a story that feels realistic and the narrative voice is as compelling as it is unique. The author isn’t just a businessman, but a great storyteller, and the reader immediately appreciates the striking balance in the narrative. The setting, one of the largest, if not the largest marijuana market in the world, comes across vividly and the descriptions are appealing, somewhat humorous. The author engages the reader throughout the narrative, and the reader becomes interested in understanding the legal implications of the business. The reader is left in no doubt that the author knows what he is talking about. The book features great dialogues, well-developed characters, and beautifully crafted scenes that portray great images in the reader’s mind. For an opening into a series, nothing could be better!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Mayhem, Murder, and Marijuana by Arik Kaplan is the story of The Los Angeles Marijuana War. Medical marijuana is a big business in the US and big names are investing big money in the business. Names like the Pritzkers of the Hyatt Hotels and Peter Thiel of PayPal. This is the author’s story of how he began to acquire dispensaries in LA, one of the biggest markets for medical marijuana in the world. This is the story of all the ins and outs of running this kind of business, the legal (and illegal) methods used, the violence and the threats against the author. At one time the Mexican cartel was heavily involved in the marijuana business but, when it was made legal, they pulled out. However, there is still a great deal of violence and intimidation, illegal trafficking and abuse in a bid to grab a large slice of the massive profits to be had. Overdoses, tweakers who steal to get the money for the habit, murder, total mayhem. That is the medical marijuana business in LA. The author has changed his name to protect his own family.

Mayhem, Murder, and Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana Story by Arik Kaplan is a real eye-opener. We all know about medical marijuana but, for the most part, we hear a kind of gentle story about people who use it for pain, for medical issues. We don’t tend to hear the truth about the violence behind it, about those who overdose or who murder and steal to feed their habits. This is a twisting tale, lots of action and a good deal of violence, definitely not one for the faint of heart. The style of writing is what I would call “rough and ready,” but that kind of fits the type of story we are dealing with here. To call it a story is perhaps a misnomer – it's very much real life, true grit, and the story intimates that it’s a tale that may or may not be true. I think this would fascinate readers with a passion for real-life stories, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under the age of 18.