Mr Nice by Howard Marks

Howard Marks has a charming and personal style in his auto-biography even if at times his narrative is more like a list of events than an actual novel.

This book covers his early life including getting a placement to Oxford, his wild years at university where he first discovered cannabis and experimented with LSD, right through to his release from Terre Haute prison in 1994/5.

His story covers several continents and the development of his empire over 20 years. We find out about his incredible journey into the tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan where he witnesses locals making the finest hand made hashish, something that few Westerners have ever been able to do. He teams up with Malik, a hilarious character and ultimately his most important connection in Karachi.

Jim McCann is the lunatic IRA associate who helps him ship the ‘nordle’ into Shannon airport in Ireland. The book is littered with fascinating characters that add a human element to his story.

The segments on Thailand and Hong Kong and how he smuggled enough Thai weed into the UK to get every single person there stoned at the same time are riveting as is the dark and insidious way the american DEA track down his movements and finally bring his whole world crashing down around him.
It may not be the greatest written piece of all time but it is definitely essential stoner reading, in fact I would probably recommend it to anyone as a vision into the underbelly of international drug smuggling and cannabis production.

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