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.
The core story revolves around a doped-out young singer by the name of Cherry Pye, her appearance double Ann DeLusia, and a paparazzo named Bang Abbott who is determined to get a picture of Pye all drugged up before she kills herself. He figures that image will be worth a fortune after her death. The main problem is that Pye's handlers are always one step ahead of him, making sure that it's DeLusia that's out in public as they deal with Pye's latest binge. His obsession leads him to kidnap DeLusia (thinking she's Pye), only to find out that his plan failed yet again. But he figures that he can still salvage the situation by offering a swap of Delusia for Pye and his public silence on the existence of a double, so long as he can get a six hour photo shoot with Pye. Of course, nothing is ever that simple in a Hiaasen novel, as you have a huge bodyguard with a weed whacker for a prosthesis and a madman ex-governor (Skink for those who have read prior Hiaasen novels) who have their own agendas and methods of making them happen...
All the characters are pretty extreme or play to the stereotypes you'd expect. Pye's manager/mom is overly protective of her, and refuses to acknowledge the extent of her daughter's "issues." Pye is a brainless addict who's been manipulated and coddled to turn her into a star facade. The person who is paying the bills and footing the cash is ruthless, and will do whatever it takes to make sure he gets his expected "return on investment." And the double is the smartest one of the bunch, and just takes life as it rolls, and figures how she can get her revenge on the whole sick lot and perhaps even save Pye from self-destruction in the process.
Perhaps the reason I didn't find the edginess I normally expect is that Pye hits very close to reality with some of the entertainment headlines of late. Skink and the bodyguard were way out there (and quite funny), but everyone else was a bit too real. Was Star Island fun to read? Yes. Was it Hiaasen's best? No, but I'd still be happy to sit on the beach with a Corona and pass a few hours with the book.... especially a Florida beach.
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 … more
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: … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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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.