Annelle, August 4, 2013 (view all comments by Annelle)
'Bad Monkey,' is Hiaasen at his best! South Florida.We meet, Andrew Yancy, a former and disgraced sheriff’s detective, who after an unfortunate incident has been demoted to restaurant inspector of Monroe County (unofficially), where the owners will bribe him to keep their establishments open, but becomes a great weight loss plan for him. Yancy is pulled into a murder when he unexpectedly is given a full left arm to keep in his freezer. Where it will sit next to his purple popsicles, which will become the only thing that Yancy will touch after finding cockroaches next to the shrimp. This is the beginning of Yancy and how he tries to wedge his way back into the good graces of the Monroe County Sheriff’s office.
Tung, July 15, 2013 (view all comments by Tung)
Carl Hiaasen is one of the most consistent writers around; you know with his novels you're going to get a zany cast of characters, a definite Florida setting, and lots of laughs.
"Bad Monkey" is about Andrew Yancy, a former police detective whose proctological assault (with a vacuum cleaner) on his girlfriend's husband gets him busted down to restaurant health inspector. He tries to redeem himself by solving the mystery of a severed arm that gets hauled in by a tourist on a fishing trip. Along the way he meets a good-looking coroner with unusual sexual tastes, an unscrupulous developer building an atrocity next door, the greedy widow, the greedy widow's greedy stepdaughter, and lots and lots of filthy restaurants.
One of the funniest recurring gags in this book is Yancy's encounters with the various restaurants. Unlike the previous health inspector, who basically used the position to scoop up food bribes, Yancy takes his job seriously and innovates different approaches for counting live vs dead roaches, etc.
The mystery itself is reasonably well-done, but really, these books aren't about the mystery so much as the ride. I did find the "bad monkey" of the title to be somewhat peripheral, although he does play a key role in one scene.
Anyway, this is about as good of a Hiassen novel as I've read, and I've read all but two or three.
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Andrew Yancy — late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office — has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first — this being Hiaasen country — Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including his just-ex lover, a hot-blooded fugitive from Kansas; the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; two avariciously optimistic real-estate speculators; the Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen, whose suitors are blinded unto death by her peculiar charms; Yancy’s new true love, a kinky coroner; and the eponymous bad monkey, who with hilarious aplomb earns his place among Carl Hiaasen’s greatest characters.
Here is Hiaasen doing what he does better than anyone else: spinning a tale at once fiercely pointed and wickedly funny in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of what’s left of pristine Florida — now, of the Bahamas as well — get their comeuppance in mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.
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