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Skinny Dipby Carl Hiaasen
"Skinny Dip is Hiaasen's latest escapade, and like the others it is hilarious and furious. It is also his most topical novel, using as its backdrop the $8 billion effort to restore the ravaged Everglades ecosystem, the most important public works project in the history of Florida and the largest environmental project in the history of the planet. That said, I must make an observation about Hiaasen's fiction that will border on blasphemy in many Florida precincts: it is fiction." Michael Grunwald, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
Chaz Perrone might be the only marine scientist in the world who doesn’t know which way the Gulf Stream runs. He might also be the only one who went into biology just to make a killing, and now he’s found a way–doctoring water samples so that a ruthless agribusiness tycoon can continue illegally dumping fertilizer into the endangered Everglades. When Chaz suspects that his wife, Joey, has figured out his scam, he pushes her overboard from a cruise liner into the night-dark Atlantic. Unfortunately for Chaz, his wife doesn’t die in the fall.
Clinging blindly to a bale of Jamaican pot, Joey Perrone is plucked from the ocean by former cop and current loner Mick Stranahan. Instead of rushing to the police and reporting her husband’s crime, Joey decides to stay dead and (with Mick’s help) screw with Chaz until he screws himself.
As Joey haunts and taunts her homicidal husband, as Chaz’s cold-blooded cohorts in pollution grow uneasy about his ineptitude and increasingly erratic behavior, as Mick Stranahan discovers that six failed marriages and years of island solitude haven’t killed the reckless romantic in him, we’re taken on a hilarious, full-throttle, pure Hiaasen ride through the warped politics and mayhem of the human environment, and the human heart.
"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. 300,000 first printing; author tour. Agent, Esther Newberg. (July 16) Forecast: Until that seemingly unresolved ending, this is vintage Hiaasen, with some wonderfully likable characters as well as his signature obnoxious heavies, and the plot is a delightful mixture of farce and suspense. The pop art jacket is striking, and sales should be as strong as always." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[B]itingly satirical, sublimely zany, and deeply satisfying." Kirkus Reviews
"Another delirious romp through the swamps of South Florida from irrepressible Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen....Like Hiaasen's nine previous novels, this one's a corker, chock-full of belly laughs and blistering truths." Allison Block, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Carl Hiaasen did not need to get any better....But Skinny Dip...[is] a screwball delight so full of bright, deft, beautifully honed humor that it places Mr. Hiaasen in the company of Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S. J. Perelman." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Writers who can construct a wide-ranging plot without losing sight of the mystery at its center are rare; Hiaasen is one....Skinny Dip is...rich with incidental rewards — wry lines, savagely etched minor characters, comic set pieces... (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly
"It has rarely been this much fun to read about the act of revenge. All of the trademark characters and Florida locales are used to maximum effect. One of Hiassen's best — and that's the naked truth." Library Journal
"Hiaasen is fast emerging as our most nimble satirist...sharp, but never slick, humane but never sentimental." Newsweek
"He is so good he ought to be illegal." Donald E. Westlake
"The most original, offbeat, and satisfying mystery novelist working today." San Francisco Chronicle
"The Mark Twain of the crime novel...a master of tilting things to make grim reality funny." Tony Hillerman
"Hiaasen ultimately does not trust his readers enough to challenge them by dropping the shtick, the tricks with smoke and mirrors, and applying his intelligence to fashioning serious characters learning serious lessons." Chicago Sun-Times
"Carl Hiaasen's latest comedy of ill manners is so dense with absurdities and outrages that you're tempted to think his word processor's been outfitted with a sleaze compactor." Newsday
"Hiaasen seems to have turned down the burner on the sarcasm....Hiaasen may have lost a bit of the anger, but — rest assured — he's in the best of humors for this latest." Rocky Mountain News
"[T]his may be one of his best yet....Hiaasen brings us fresh, new and appealing characters, a plot to keep you turning the pages, and his usual humorous swipe at the bad guys who continue...to despoil Florida's ecosystem." Roz Shea, BookReporter.com
"Plenty of successful popular-fiction writers really know how to flog a winning formula, but few turn out books as relentlessly enjoyable as Carl Hiaasen's....
"This is pretty standard stuff, but in Hiaasen's hands it becomes a stinging and ridiculously funny tour de farce....Skinny Dip is not just good fun and good Hiaasen; it's excellent social commentary without the long faces." Sam Harrison, Miami Herald
"[Hiaasen] has produced his best work to date with his newest novel, Skinny Dip....Hiaasen has taken a subtle but impressive step forward in what is already a literary career to be proud of." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Carl Hiaasen at his merry-prankster best....It's a testament to Hiaasen's talent that he can maintain his freshness and control after 10 novels — even if he may bemoan the fact that he'll probably never run short of material." Michele Ross, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"In the end, the book feels like a cruise aboard a well-appointed boat that leaks. The ride is comfortable and fun until the underlying structure sinks." Annie Linskey, The Baltimore Sun
A shady marine scientist suspects that his wife knows that he has been doctoring water samples so that a ruthless tycoon can continue polluting the Everglades, so he pushes her overboard from a cruise liner. But she's saved by former cop Mick Stranahan — and that's when the real adventure begins.
About the Author
Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of ten previous novels, including Sick Puppy, Lucky You, Stormy Weather, Basket Case, and, for young readers, Hoot. He also writes a regular column for the Miami Herald.
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