Hiaasen, Carl

Mystery
Powder burn by Carl Hiaasen Powder Burn (1981) with Bill Montalbano
Architect Chris Meadows has the bad luck to see an old girlfriend get hit by a car full of drugland hitmen. He has the worse luck to see the face of her murderers. Because in a town as violent as Miami, a witness doesn't stand a chance--especially when the cops who ought to be protecting him are more interested in dangling him as live bait.
Trap Line by Carl Hiaasen Trap Line (1982) with Bill Montalbano
When somebody sabotages the trap lines of Key West crawfisherman Breeze Albury, poor Breeze - middle-aged, devoted to son Ricky (a promising baseball player), happy with girlfriend Laurie - is once again forced to do a job for the drug-business "Machine": with helper Jimmy (who needs cash for his young wife's abortion), Breeze agrees to do a single drug-run with his 43-foot boat, the Diamond Cutter. The mission turns out to be a set-up, however - and Breeze winds up in jail. Why did the Machine arrange for their own drug-run to be spotted by the law? Because they want to force Breeze to undertake a far more dangerous run: they'll get him out of jail . . . if he'll bring 20 illegal Colombian refugees in from a "stash island" off Andros. (The Machine owes some Colombian dealer a big favor.) So off goes Breeze, with Jimmy and Cuban pal Augie, and, not unexpectedly, the trip turns into a nightmare: the Colombians are ruthless, desperate, superstitious; there are deaths during the turbulent boarding and the chaotic voyage; the eventual landing is a bloody disaster - with only half of the expected refugees arriving. Thus, the Machine must now kill Breeze . . . who is ready to fight back - by hijacking a huge load of the Machine's drugs; son Ricky will get his pitching arm broken by a Machine underling; Breeze will take the final revenge. And meanwhile, back on shore, Breeze's girlfriend Laurie is getting involved in local politics - befriending (and eventually bedding) a gay-fights activist, helping him to take revenge on a bigoted sheriff. This subplot - and another one about the evil doings of a local lawyer - are only half-successfully interwoven with the central, visceral plot here (a few too many coincidences and sudden romances are needed to tie up all the threads). But the at-sea action is gritty and varied, Breeze is a modestly engaging beleaguered-hero, and this is sturdy melodrama entertainment overall from the authors of last year's Powder Burn. (Kirkus Reviews)
A Death in China by Carl Hiaasen Death in China (1984) with Bill Montalbano
Product Description
An American investigating his mentor's murder finds himself ensnared in a web of lies and treachery in China, where even tomorrow's weather is a state secret. From a nightmarish interrogation to assassination by cobra, A Death in China takes readers on a trip with no rest stops through a world of claustrophobic mistrust and terrifying danger.
Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen Tourist Season (1986)
From Publishers Weekly
When the president of the Miami Chamber of Commerce is found dead inside a suitcase with his legs sawn off and a rubber alligator stuffed down his throat, news and police locals prefer to believe it's simply another typical South Florida crime. But when letters from a terrorist group, Las Noches de Diciembre, link the man's death to the disappearances of a visiting Shriner and a Canadian tourist, former newsman (now private eye) Brian Keyes intuits that someone is out to kill Florida's tourist trade. His investigation leads him to an old journalism crony obsessed with fury against the state's irresponsible development policies. Miami Herald columnist Hiaasen writes with a seriousness of intent and knack for characterization which, unfortunately, outstrip his comic talents. This is an auspicious solo debut for the serious Hiaasen (he has written three thrillers with William Montalbano), but a lukewarm one for him as a potential comic-absurdist. (March 24p
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen Double Whammy (1987)
From Publishers Weekly
A Miami Herald reporter who struck a blow against corrupt entrepreneurs in Tourist Season, Hiaasen follows through with this acid satire, a real double whammy. Private detective R. J. Decker is hired to prove that TV host Dickie Lockhart cheats to win fortunes in Florida bass-fishing tournaments. The investigation makes Decker a prey to hired killers who have murdered other "snoops," but the detective also finds a strong if weird ally in a hermit who calls himself Skink. Along with two honest cops, Skink goes with Decker to the lake where a big tournament is under way and the four make a tremendous splash, to the dismay of the assembly. Hardest hit is Reverend Weeb, Lockhart's sponsor on the Outdoor Christian Network, whose generous supporters don't know that he's addicted to prostitutes, profanity and land-grabbing. The cast of bizarre characters and the suspenseful events confirm Hiaasen's reputation for creating singular villains and heroes. While he's probably unpopular among some fellow citizens in his home state, he will certainly please readers who appreciate the Swiftian wit in his cautionary tales.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen Skin Tight (1989)
From Publishers Weekly
Hiaasen's latest thriller is his funniest and sharpest novel to date. Set in a south Florida swarming with ripoff artists, crooked cops, nude sunbathers and corrupt politicians, it features a Mafia-connected plastic surgeon with butterfingers, a bitchy Hollywood starlet, a remarkably inept hit man and a pompous TV journalist "nationally famous for getting beaten up on camera." Retired state investigator Mick Stranahan, the hero, kills an intruder in his seaside house on stilts by impaling him with a trophy spearfish. Then one of his five ex-wives is found drowned. Due to an unresolved missing-person case, someone wants Stranahan eliminated, and his efforts to flush out the mixed bag of bad guys let Hiaasen ( Tourist Season ; Double Wham my ) display his manic sense of humor at every turn. The cynical sleuth has just the right mix of sour and smarts to get a fix on a mad world. This wickedly amusing story is the work of a keen satirist who off-handedly exposes the moral rot at every level of society. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen Native Tongue (1991)
From Library Journal
Imagine you're driving a rented Chrysler LeBaron convertible to the perfect family vacation at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills when a rat is tossed into your car by a passing pickup. The rodent in question is not a rat, but a rare blue-tongued mango vole just liberated from the Kingdom by the militant Wildlife Rescue Corps. Welcome to the world of Native Tongue , where dedicated (if somewhat demented) environmentalists battle sleazy real estate developers in the Florida Keys. Hiaasen reminds one of Harry Crews in his depiction of a South full of eccentric people involved in crazy schemes. It is a measure of the writer's talent that no matter how bizarre the situation, it is believable. Late in the book a character laments his predicament as "an irresistible convergence of violence, mayhem and mortality!" If he had added nonstop hilarity, he would have had a perfect description of this book. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91.
- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen Strip Tease (1993)
From Publishers Weekly
Inventive blackmail schemes, grisly murders, power politics, greed, revenge and sex all figure in Hiaasen's ( Native Tongue ) latest comic crime novel. At the Eager Beaver, a topless bar in Fort Lauderdale, former FBI clerk Erin Grant dances nightly to pay for legal fees in her custody fight for her young daughter. There David Dilbeck, a poorly disguised, somewhat kinky and imbecilic U.S. Congressman owned by the state's sugar interests, is recognized by a sharp-eyed regular who, infatuated with Erin, initiates a blackmail plan meant to influence her court case. The resulting mayhem, occuring in an election year, involves machinations up to the highest state level, most of which are orchestrated by Dilbeck's arrogant, sleazy lawyer, and leads to an escalating body count that ends in a frenzied revenge caper arranged by the resourceful Erin deep in some sugarcane fields. Dead-on dialogue ("My boots are full of Vaseline," says Dilbeck one night, his only other clothing a black cowboy hat) and clearly limned characters from society's fringes--notably the taciturn, inventive Eager Beaver bouncer; a Cuban cop who works the case off hours; Erin's psychopathic ex, and his sister who raises hybrid wolves outside her double-wide trailer--round out this somewhat coincidence-ridden but consistently entertaining, warm-blooded tale. 60,000 first printing; Literary Guild alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen Stormy Weather (1995)
From Publishers Weekly
Hiaasen's latest seriocomic Florida thriller spent seven weeks on PW's bestseller list.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen Lucky You (1997)
From Library Journal
JoLayne Lucks has one of two winning lottery tickets each worth a cool $14 million. She plans to spend it rescuing a local plot of swampland from a strip mall developer. The holders of the other winning ticket, however, are Bode Gazzer and his sidekick, Chubb, who want the whole $28 million. Afire with paramilitary fervor, Bode and Chubb need the cash to bankroll the start-up of the White Clarion Aryans before NATO takes over America with a handicapped parking sticker scam. They steal JoLayne's ticket, but before they can cash it she mounts a hot pursuit with the help of local journalist Tom Krome. As they chase Bode and Chubb through the swamps and sleazy dives, dodging bullets and local religious fanatics, Tom and JoLayne leave a wake of mayhem and hilarity. This is Hiaasen (Naked Came the Manatee, LJ 1/97) at his wacky best?a steamy amalgam of raunch, righteousness, and riotous laughs. Highly recommended.
-?Susan Gene Clifford, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen Sick Puppy (2000)
From Publishers Weekly
Florida muckraker Hiaasen once again produces a devilishly funny caper revolving around the environmental exploitation of his home state by greedy developers. When budding young ecoterrorist Twilly Spree begins a campaign of sabotage against a grotesque litterbug named Palmer Stoat, he gets much more than he bargained for. Stoat is a political fixer, involved with a bevy of shady types: Dick Artemus, ex-car salesman, now governor; Robert Clapley, a crooked land developer with an unhealthy interest in Barbie dolls; and his business expediter, Mr. Gash, a permed reptilian thug with ghastly musical tastes: "All morning he drove back and forth across the old bridge, with his favorite 911 compilation in the tape deck: Snipers in the Workplace, accompanied by an overdub of Tchaikowsky's Symphony No. 3 in D Major." After a wave of preemptive strikes centered on a garbage truck and a swarm of dung beetles, Twilly ups the ante and kidnaps both Palmer's dog and his wife, Desie, who finds Twilly a great deal more interesting than her slob of a husband. In doing so Twilly uncovers a conspiracy (well, more like business as usual) to jam a bill through the Florida legislature to develop Toad Island, a wildlife sanctuary, in a deal that will make a mint for all the politicos concerned. Chapley wants Twilly silenced and dispatches Mr. Gash. Palmer wants his wife and dog back and asks Dick Artemus to help in the rescue without derailing the bill. Who should be called upon but the good cop/bad psycho duo of Trooper Jim Tile and ex-Governor Clinton Tyree, aka Skink or the Captain, whose recurring appearances throughout Hiaasen's novels have made for hysterical farce. While there may be nothing laughable about unchecked environmental exploitation, Hiaasen has refined his knack for using this gloomy but persistent state of affairs as a prime mover for scams of all sorts. In Sick Puppy, he shows himself to be a comic writer at the peak of his powers. 200,000 first printing; first serial to Men's Journal; Literary Guild alternate; simultaneous audiobook. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Paradise screwed : selected columns of Carl Hiaasen by Carl Hiaasen
Paradise Screwed (2001)
From Publishers Weekly
The Florida Chamber of Commerce undoubtedly has a dart-pocked photograph of syndicated Miami Herald columnist Hiaasen tacked to the wall. For his second anthology of 200 columns, spanning 15 years, he takes readers on a head-shaking romp through a south Florida that they won't find in any tourist brochure. A true Florida patriot, Hiaasen exposes corruption, money-grubbing and rampant development. The volume picks up where its predecessor Kick Ass: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen left off. Stevenson, associate director of writing programs at the University of Florida, again edits. Hiaasen's writing is fearless and the targets endless: politicians, municipal employees, judges, lobbyists, zoning boards, evangelists, athletic franchises, environmental scofflaws, Disney, the NRA, Big Tobacco. In many cases, Hiaasen took these entities to task before it became fashionable. A bestselling novelist to boot, Hiaasen is cut from that same bolt of cloth as Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill he's an acerbic, old-school columnist who can't stomach greed or hypocrisy, pulls no punches and keeps his sense of humor and outrage firmly intact. He tackles with unbridled vigor the Elian Gonzalez affair and voting irregularities in the recent presidential election. While many columns resonate beyond south Florida state vs. local control, urban sprawl, the commerce of politics some feel too localized to sink in. But if you're crooked or play loose with the public trust, watch out. Not even alligator skin is thick enough to deflect the sting of this writer's pen.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen Basket Case (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
Hiassen gets back to his roots with this (almost) straight-ahead mystery, but doesn't skimp on the funny stuff as he follows the adventures of Jack Tagger, down-on-his-luck journalist relegated to the obit beat at a smalltown Florida daily. While researching a death notice, Jack stumbles by accident upon an actual news story: former rocker Jimmy Stoma has drowned while diving in the Bahamas, and his widow, wannabe star Cleo Rio, can't convince Jack that his death was accidental. The mystery offers Jack a way out of his job-related death fixation ("It's an occupational hazard for obituary writers memorizing the ages at which famous people have expired, and compulsively employing such trivia to track the arc of one's own life") and toward his increasingly lusty feelings for Emma, his 27-year-old editor (" `Bring whipped cream,' I tell her, `and an English saddle' "). But when things turn violent and Jack suddenly has to defend himself with a giant frozen lizard, he enlists the help of his sportswriter friend Juan Rodriguez and teenage club scene veteran Carla Candilla to try to find out why someone is killing off has-been sleaze rockers. A hilarious sendup of exotic Floridian fauna in the newspaper business, the novel offers all the same treats Hiassen's fans have come to crave. What makes this book different is its first-person, present-tense narrative style. Unlike previous capers, which were narrated in the omniscient third person, this book settles squarely in the mystery genre from whence Hiaasen's fame (Double Whammy; Tourist Season, etc.) initially sprang. Despite the absence of perennial Hiaasen favorite Skink, this should make an easy job for Knopf's sales force even easier. (Jan. 9)Forecast: A 22-city author tour, a drive-time radio tour and national print and television advertising are all in the works for Basket Case. With first serial going to Rolling Stone and a 300,000-copy first printing, this looks like another bestselling sure bet for the Florida funnyman. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen Skinny Dip (2004)
From Publishers Weekly
Hiaasen's signature mix of hilariously over-the-top villains, lovable innocents and righteous indignation at what mankind has done to his beloved Florida wilderness is all present in riotous abundance in his latest. It begins with attractive heiress Joey Perrone being tossed overboard from a cruise ship by her larcenous husband, Chaz—not for her money, which she has had the good sense to keep well away from him, but because he fears she is onto his crooked dealings with a ruthless tycoon who is poisoning the Everglades. But instead of drowning as she's supposed to, Joey stays afloat until she is rescued by moody ex-cop Mick Stranahan, a loner who has also struck out in the marriage department. Then the two together, with the unwitting aid of a suspicious cop who can't pin the attempted murder on Chaz, hatch a sadistic plot to scare that "maggot" out of what little wit he has. Even Tool, a hulking brute sent by the tycoon to keep an eye on Chaz, eventually turns against him, and much of the fun is in watching the deplorable Chaz flounder further and further in the murk, both literally and figuratively (Chaz's job, as the world's unlikeliest marine biologist, involves falsifying water pollution levels for the tycoon). Hiaasen's books are so enjoyable it's always a sad moment when they end. In this case, however, sadness is mixed with puzzlement because the book seems to end in mid-scene, with Chaz in trouble again—but is it terminal? We thought at first there were some pages missing, but Knopf says that was the ending Hiaasen intended. Odd.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen Nature Girl (2005)
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Old fans and newcomers alike should delight in Hiaasen's 11th novel (after 2004's Skinny Dip), another hilarious Florida romp. The engaging and diverse screwball cast includes Boyd Shreave, a semicompetent telemarketer; Shreave's mistress and co-worker, Eugenie Fonda; Honey Santana, a mercurial gadfly who ends up on the other end of one of Shreave's pitches for Florida real estate; and Sammy Tigertail, half Seminole, who at novel's start must figure out what to do with the body of a tourist who dies of a heart attack on Sammy's airboat after being struck by a harmless water snake. When Santana cooks up an elaborate scheme to punish Shreave for nasty comments he made during his solicitation call, she ends up involving her 12-year-old son, Fry, and her ex-husband in a frantic chase that enmeshes Tigertail and the young co-ed Sammy accidentally has taken hostage. While the absurd plot may be less than compelling, Hiaasen's humorous touches and his all-too-human characters carry the book to its satisfying close. 600,000 first printing; author tour. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Non-Fiction
Team Rodent : How Disney Devours the World by Carl Hiaasen Team Rodent (1998)
After opening with an overbilious screed against the company's signature blandness, the author settles down and rakes good muck. -- Entertainment Weekly, Troy Patterson






Kick Ass: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen by Carl Hiaasen Kick Ass (1999)
From Kirkus Reviews
A public service to his many fans, this compendium of Miami Herald columns by best-selling novelist Carl Hiaasen (Lucky You, 1997, etc.) reveals an angry, alert civic muckraker in the pugilistic vein of Mencken or Royko. Though best known for his ribald crime fiction, with its meticulous universe of South Florida idiocy and venal conspiracy, Hiaasen cut his teeth as an investigative reporter, and this spirit is strong in both his chosen subjects and his wry attention to unforgiving evidentiary detail. As editor Stevenson notes, the collections thrust, which she constructed by sifting through Hiaasens 1300-plus columns, was to present his advocacy of realistic growth and decent government in Florida. Along the way Hiaasen stops to gut innumerable big fishcrooked politicians, rogue cops, insensate tourists, swollen developerswithin a rough chronology reaching back to the cocaine-crazed Reagan '80s. Although Hiaasen is a truly funny writer, a stern moral compass lies beneath his slapstick. His quixotic outrage regarding the despoliation of his home state (cf. the columnist/terrorist of his Tourist Season, 1986) is as unforgiving as an Uzi, as authentic as a Waffle House breakfast. Hiaasens zestful attacks on Miamis many embarrassing or indicted leaders end up addressing the threats posed, for instance, by the crash overpopulation of Florida, epitomized by the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Andrew upon shoddy developments, a dire issue that pro-business boosters (e.g., The Mouse) labor to minimize. But even the loopier pieces (tame dachshund-eating alligators, Geraldo Riveras faked drug raids) are informed by Hiaasens unforgiving focus upon the social rot beneath the zany facade. Such columns, like his fiction, reveal Hiaasen as a crystalline, pitiless seer of human weakness in much the same vein as his Floridian forbears, Charles Willeford and Harry Crews. Deeply satisfying, both for what it reveals of the serious priorities of a supposedly light novelist and for the outrageous epic of Florida profiteering and entropy within. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport by Carl Hiaasen The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport (2008)
From Publishers Weekly
Hiaasen (Skinny Dip), an admittedly woeful golfer, recounts his clumsy resumption of the game after a 32-year layoff. Why did he take up golf so long after quitting at the age of 20? I'm one sick bastard, he writes. Hiaasen interweaves passages about his return to the game with diary entries covering more than a year and a half on the links. He mixes childhood memories of playing with his father, who died prematurely, with anecdotes, including the time he and a friend ejected an invasion of poisonous toads from his friend's patio with short irons. His analysis of his lessons, hapless rounds and gimmicky golf equipment is hilarious, and his vivid descriptions are vintage Hiaasen, such as golf balls that are designed to run like a scalded gerbil. Hiaasen also touches on topics he writes about in his novels and newspaper columns, lamenting the overdevelopment of Florida and skewering crooked politicians and lobbyists prone to lavish golf junkets. He finishes his journey with a detailed round-by-round account of his pitiful play in a member-guest tournament on his home course (his discouragement is cheered, however, when his wife and young son joyfully take up the game). With the satirically skilled Hiaasen, who rarely breaks 90 on the links, this narrative is an enjoyable ride. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved


Children's Fiction
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Hoot (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
With a Florida setting and proenvironment, antidevelopment message, Hiaasen (Sick Puppy) returns to familiar turf for his first novel for young readers. Characteristically quirky characters and comic twists will surely gain the author new fans, though their attention may wander during his narrative's intermittently protracted focus on several adults, among them a policeman and the manager of a construction site for a new franchise of a pancake restaurant chain. Both men are on a quest to discover who is sabotaging the site at night, including such pranks as uprooting survey stakes, spray-painting the police cruiser's windows while the officer sleeps within and filling the portable potties with alligators. The story's most intriguing character is the boy behind the mischief, a runaway on a mission to protect the miniature owls that live in burrows underneath the site. Roy, who has recently moved to Florida from Montana, befriends the homeless boy (nicknamed Mullet Fingers) and takes up his cause, as does the runaway's stepsister. Though readers will have few doubts about the success of the kids' campaign, several suspenseful scenes build to the denouement involving the sitcom-like unraveling of a muckity-muck at the pancake house. These, along with dollops of humor, help make the novel quite a hoot indeed. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Flush by Carl Hiaasen Flush (2005)
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Noah and his sister, Abbey, are more understanding of their volatile dad's latest arrest than their mother, who begins talking of divorce. Dad sank the Coral Queen, a casino boat on a Florida Key because, he alleges, its owner, Dusty Muleman, has been illegally dumping raw sewage into the local waters. Soon enough the kids begin trying to gather proof that will vindicate their father and put the casino out of business. The colorful cast includes a drunken lout named Lice who disappears before he can be persuaded to testify against Dusty, his former boss. His rough-around-the-edges girlfriend, Shelly, comes through, though, helping the siblings dump dye in the boat's holding tanks, which finally brings the matter to court. Dusty's son, Jasper, is a chip off the old block, threatening and beating Noah on several occasions until he and, later, Abbey are rescued by a mysterious stranger who turns out to be their grandfather, long ago thought to have died in South America, probably while involved in drug smuggling. As the tale ends, he's back to Colombia to settle old scores. The plot would practically disappear if any one of the major characters had a cell phone, but the environmental story is front and center and readers will be hooked as the good guys try to do the right thing. This quick-reading, fun, family adventure harkens back to the Hardy Boys in its simplicity and quirky characters.–Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Scat Scat (2009)
Mrs. Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, was last seen during a field trip to Black Vine Swamp. The school’s headmaster and the police seem to have accepted the sketchy, unsigned note explaining that her absence is due to a “family emergency.” There’s no real evidence of foul play. But still, Nick and Marta don’t buy it. Something weird is definitely going on.

Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald and is the author of many bestselling books, including Sick Puppy, Nature Girl, and The Downhill Lie. He lives in Florida.




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