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Star Island

A book by Carl Hiaasen

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Hiaasen's Twisted View of Celebrity

  • Sep 2, 2010
The emergency medical technicians have been called to a hotel in South Beach, responding to call concerning a twenty-two year old female who has swallowed a "mix of vodka, Red Bull, hydrocodone, birdseed, and stool softener." A rather typical call for South Beach with the exception of the appearance of Bang Abbott, an overweight, intrusive paparazzo. He wants to have exclusive right to the pictures of the woman on the stretcher. However, when the EMT's wheel out the woman, he realizes that this is not the person he came to shoot. His real target, Cherry Pye, a lip synching "singer" with serious drug, alcohol, and sex issues, has been whisked out the back of the hotel and is on her way to rehab (again). Bang has been tricked by Cherry's handlers, who employ Ann DeLusia, an actress who is a spitting image of Cherry, and is considered an "undercover stunt double." Cherry has no idea that Ann exists, Ann is used any time Cherry is too wasted to make public appearances or to cover for her when she is in rehab.

The use of Ann as a double is brilliant until she crashes her car on her way to Key West for some much deserved rest and relaxation. Rescued by a man known as "Skink," a former governor of Florida and who is now, for lack of a better term, an "eco terrorist," Ann connects with Skink, who then helps Ann get out of some very sticky situations and, ultimately, away from Cherry Pye and her entourage.

In Star Island, Carl Hiaasen turns his eye on what passes for celebrity in America, but adds his usual criticism of Florida real estate developers and certain types of people that inhabit the Sunshine State. Regular readers will enjoy the appearance of Skink, who has a very effective and hilarious method of dealing with one unscrupulous real estate developer, and two other characters. All should relish Ann, the small voice of reason and sanity in the insane circle of people that inhabit Cherry's world.

Hiaasen does an admirable job of skewering the music industry and "celebrity," but he seems to have lost a step. He should have pushed the boundaries farther. Also, other than Skink, who inhabits the novel but not to the extent of Hiassen's better works, Ann is the only character with whom the reader will connect. Hiassen should have spent more time with her, she is the perfect foil for the insanity and a joy to follow.

Star Island isn't one of Hiassen's best works, but it is better than most fiction. In fact, you will discover that he has grabbed your attention with a fun, entertaining novel.

Obtained from: Library
Payment: Borrowed

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September 03, 2010
Ah, South Beach. I love when that's the setting of a book. I've been interested in this one for a while. I've never read one of Hiassen's books, but I hear so much about them. Maybe one of these days I'll get to one! LOL!
September 03, 2010
@Adrianna I am a sucker for Florida fiction, Hiaasen is at the top of the list, followed closely by Tim Dorsey and Thomas B. Cavanagh. Face it, they have a lot of material with which to work. :-)
September 03, 2010
Yeah, me too. It's a fun area. I've heard of the other authors you mentioned too. Nice!
September 02, 2010
Good review. Hiaasen's satire is hilarious and this one is definitely on my reading list.
September 03, 2010
@cpw1952 thanks for the comment. It was good, but not one of his best. But much better than Nature Girl, his last novel. You should check out some of his recent non-fiction books, they are really good (and funny).
September 03, 2010
And since I thoroughly enjoyed NATURE GIRL, I'd better get to this one sooner than later, LOL.
More Star Island reviews
review by . October 09, 2010
Carl Hiaasen is one of my "must read" authors, as I enjoy his wacky southern Florida-based novels. His latest craziness is Star Island, and I finally made it to the top of the hold list at the library. This was an enjoyable read, filled with off-beat characters and situations that could only happen in Florida. But the edge that's normally part of a Hiaasen novel seemed to be missing this time. I didn't find myself having to keep reading far beyond my bedtime.      …
review by . August 02, 2010
You know what they say confession is good for...so here I go: I'm a huge fan of Carl Hiaasen, hence this probably will not be an unbiased review. He always makes me smile, and I'm constantly amazed by his imagination, his productivity. After all, this is an author who not only pens bestsellers, but popular children's books, and writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald. If he has a vitamin regime - hope he'll share it.      Second, there is another admission: …
review by . September 08, 2010
The answer, obviously, is no, although the author keeps the reader guessing about that, or even if Skink is the father of AnnDeLusia (I love that name; think a part of Spain). Once again we are treated to the usual motley collection of freaks, zanies, evil real estate moguls, and the other characters that the author claims populate Southern Florida. This time he has a different class of persons to skewer, the "pop-star" and her entourage.      Cherry Pye (love that …
review by . August 31, 2010
This is a contemporary novel where we see a young Hollywood starlet constantly going into rehab for drugs and alcohol. In a story that could have been taken from the front pages to today's newspaper, we see the life of Cherry Pye, aka Cheryl Bunterman.      Cherry is now age twenty-two. Since she was age fourteen, she has been a pop star with a love of excitement and the drugs and alcohol that comes with it.      She's currently attempting a come …
review by . September 15, 2010
The precarious career of starlit Cherry Pye is perilously close to taking a nose dive. Suffering from an appalling lack of talent coupled with a dangerous appetite for booze, drugs, and illicit sex, the former Cheryl Bunterman is often in no shape to make public appearances. Enter one Ann DeLusia, employed as a stand in/double for Cherry--unbeknownst to the beleaguered star. WIth the exception of eye color, Ann is the spitting image of Cherry--and is the only thing standing between Cherry and career …
About the reviewer
Gregg Eldred ()
Ranked #72
It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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About this book


Ann DeLuisa, body double for drug-addled pop star Cherry Pye, is kidnapped by an obsessed paparazzo, and Cherry's entourage must rescue her while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry's public--and from Cherry herself.
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ISBN-10: 0307272583
ISBN-13: 978-0307272584
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
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