Take a Monroe County (Florida Keys) detective busted down to restaurant inspector, a medical examiner with an interest in a little kink on the side, a doctors wife with a secret past and the good doctor himself with a secret present and a past incident he only wishes was kept secret, a voodoo priestess, etc. etc., and top it off with the arm of a former scam artist and an ill-behaved monkey rumored to have worked with Johnny Depp on the Pirates movies and you get a satiric masterpiece that could only come out of the mind of Carl Hiaasen.
Like a good sports fisherman in South Florida, Hiaasen made sure he hooked me at the earliest opportunity, gave me a little slack, pulled back and eventually landed me. I have yet to read (or in this case, listen to) a Hiaasen novel I havent liked, and his most recent work ranks right up there with his other masterpieces. Numerous subplots swirl around, sometimes coming tantalizingly close to each other or even touching, until they begin to come together as the novel reaches its climax and conclusion. Of course, a few recurring gags, one of my favorite features of the authors works, can be found, as well.
Unlike his earlier works, Hiaasen actually moves a good deal of the action out of South Florida. Admittedly, the Bahamas isnt THAT much of a stretch, BUT it did constitute a risk for the author one which I believe paid off.
Carl, youre going to have to write just a little faster the only one of your novels (excepting the YA ones) I havent read yet is Skin Tight. Im afraid to start it, because once Ive caught up, what will I have to look forward to.
This book meets all of my qualification for 5 stars. It grabbed and kept my interest, I liked the characters, I could feel the locale almost as though it were another character in the book, and it feels like it will stay with me after Ive moved on to my next book.
POSTSCRIPT: I listened to this novel on an audio book, read by the memorable Arte Johnson. I was a little disappointed in that the man who created so many memorable characters on Laugh-In back in the late 1960s stayed relatively subdued as he gave voice to the characters in the novel. But midway through the CDs, I realized this was by design. Mr. Johnson recognized that these were Hiaasens characters, not his own, and he wisely avoided the temptation to allow his vocal exaggerations to distract from what was already a funny text.