Who killed the Cigarette Boat King,
the fastest man on the seas?
Now a 2018 feature film
starring John Travolta
Based on the book
"Ocean racing superstar Don Aronow loved it
when writers called him a living legend.
His life of adventure is well known.
It is his death that baffles police.
He was afraid of nothing, no one.
In his final hour, when a stranger spoke to him
in riddles and talked about killing, Aronow laughed.
He felt no fear, until he lowered the window
of his white Mercedes and looked death in the face.
And then it was too late."
-- Edna Buchanan in The Miami Herald
Bordering a canal leading to Biscayne Bay, a short dead-end stretch of Northeast 188th Street in Miami was the crossroad of the Americas in the mid-1980s for the biggest drug smugglers into the U.S.; the guys who ripped off the drug smugglers; the biggest South American drug suppliers; competing federal agencies investigating major drug trafficking and money laundering; the CIA, covertly advancing the Contra war against Central American land reform (which they called Cuban-sponsored communism); some of the highest national politicians in the country--and what attracted them all there, the most famous fast-boat companies in the world.
On that splashy boulevard of (wet) dreams factories built marine magazine-ad ultra-sleek gleaming speedboats ostensibly for racers, royalty to show off on the Côte d'Azur, and wealthy divorced or divorcing middle-age overweight men to pick up South Florida's sun-soaked hot chicks in string bikinis (while the rest of us unwashed wondered how they did it), but the boat builders' real business was fueling an arms race between smugglers, who purchased them for cash, and Drug War feds to catch smugglers.
The storied creator of the quantum-leap faster Cigarette boat, against which all other "penis" boats were measured, as well as a two-time powerboat racing world champion and the personification of a sport in which people crazily risked their lives and bodies to win--not to mention a wicked ladies' man to boot, Don Aronow was shot and killed in broad daylight in front of his factory in 1987. Police found they didn't just have a murder mystery--they had Murder on the Orient Express.