I like my "South Florida" genre novels, which usually involve a fair degree of outlandish and bizarre behavior. One of my favorite authors for that category is Carl Hiaasen. He has a way of writing a novel that both entertains and delivers biting commentary on the evils that are destroying Florida. His latest novel, Bad Monkey, delivers on both counts.
Andrew Yancy is a police officer who works Monroe County (think Florida Keys). Actually, he *was* an officer until his boss demoted him to a restaurant health inspector after an unfortunate incident with a human arm that was snagged by a fishing boat. Yancy's boss wanted it dumped with the Miami police so they could handle it. Miami wouldn't take it and Yancy's boss wouldn't take no for an answer. So, Yancy's freezer became the temporary morgue for the anonymous limb. But when the owner of the limb is identified and Yancy has to 'fess up to its location, his troubles start to multiply. He thinks if he can solve the case of what happened to the owner, he can get his old job back. But that may be harder than it sounds... he has a small incident in his past involving his ex's husband, a vacuum cleaner "assault", and dozens of videos of the encounter by cruise ship passengers wandering around Mallory Street. The more Yancy uncovers about the owner of the arm, the more bizarre (and dead) the people associated with the case become. Yancy could well be the last on the list if the killer has their way...
When I think of Hiaasen, I also think of Tim Dorsey as they both capture the absurdity that often makes up some of the people and life in Florida. But where Dorsey goes for over-the-top insane plots (that are also very funny), Hiaasen writes in such a way that you could actually see the plot play out in real life without stretching things too far. But in doing so, he doesn't lose the... "unique" character of those who see Florida as their own personal playground for financial gain by fleecing others. This was another of his books that I had a very hard time putting down, as I just had to see what was going to happen next... especially if it involved Driggs (the bad monkey) or Yancy trying to dissuade potential buyers of the house next door.
Bad Monkey is great fun, and very much worth reading. Hiaasen is at the top of his game here.
I always enjoy reading a Carl Hiaasen book because I know that it's going to be extremely amusing, with a lot of odd characters doing unusual and strange things. This new book did not disappoint me. It begins when a fishing vessel off the Florida Keys snags an arm from the water, and goes on from there. The main protagonist is a former police detective who was demoted to health and safety inspector (roach patrol) for using a small vacuum on the husband of his girlfriend … 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
Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of twelve previous novels, including the best-selling Lucky You,Nature Girl, Sick Puppy,Skinny Dip, and Star Island, and four best-selling children’s books, Chomp, Flush,Hoot, and Scat. His most recent work of nonfiction is The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport. He also writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald.