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Skinny Dipby Carl Hiaasen
Monday, June 24, 2013 07:30 PM
Powell's City of Books on Burnside, Portland, OR
Bad Monkey (Knopf) has Carl Hiaasen back doing what he does best: spinning a wickedly funny, fiercely pointed tale in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of pristine land in Florida — now, in the Bahamas too — get their comeuppance in ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.
"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.)
"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
"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)
"[B]itingly satirical, sublimely zany, and deeply satisfying." Kirkus Reviews
"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] 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
"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
"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
"Carl Hiaasen's anger and humor make for an entertaining brew in Skinny Dip....Like his other novels, it bubbles over with oddball characters and affection for nature, which is sacrosanct to Hiaasen no matter how savage." Boston Globe
"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." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Here Hiaasen is at his best. The anecdotes soar to heights of absurdity — so imaginative and unexpected that one can't help to suspend disbelief." Baltimore Sun
"Though his books are often classified as mysteries, Hiaasen's writing...rises high above that or any other genre. Hiaasen is a great inheritor to [John D. MacDonald] and Skinny Dip, like his other books, is entertainment with an emotional punch." Orlando Sentinel
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.
After her shady marine scientist husband Chaz tries to kill her, Joey Perrone is saved by former cop Mick Stranahan. Now, Joey's out to screw with Chad from "beyond the grave" in Hiaasen's gleefully zany and uproariously funny "New York Times" bestseller.
Chaz Perrone night be the only marine scientist in the world who doesn't know which way the Gulf Stream runs, but he's out to make a killing--by doctoring water samples for a ruthless agribusiness tycoon illegally dumping fertilizer into the endangered Everglades. When Chaz suspects that his wife Joey is on to his scam, he pushes her overboard from a cruise liner. Unfortunately for Chaz, she doesn't die in the plunge. Clinging blindly to a bale of Jamaican pot, Joey Perrone is plucked from the ocean by former cop (and current loner) Mick Stranahan. But instead of rushing to the police to report the crime. Joey enlists Mick's and to help her stay dead and haunt her husband. Meanwhile, Chaz's cold-blooded partners in pollution grow uneasy about his ineptitude and increasingly erratic behavior, and Mick discovers that six failed marriages haven't killed the skewed romantic in him after all. Skinny Dip, Carl Hiaasen's biggest bestseller to date, was published in hardcover (Knopf, 7/04 with a first printing of 400,000 copies, hitting the New York Times bestseller list at #2, and the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post bestseller at #2. Warner has had a phenomenal track record with the paperback editions of Carl Hiaasen's novels Basket Case (1/03). Sick Puppy (2001). Lucky You (1998). Stormy Weather (1997) and Strip Tease (1994) have sold over 2.1 million copies combined. Warner Books is planning a major promotional push for all of Carl Hiaasen's trade paperbacks in 2005. Hiaasen's brand of irreverent humor has been critically praised and has vaulted his books to bestseller status. Sick Puppy spent 10 weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list and 11 weeks on the Publishers Weekly list; and Stormy Weather also hit the New York Times hardcover list.
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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