Fiction

Carl Hiaasen captures Florida’s eccentricities in ‘Bad Monkey’

 
 
Bad Monkey. Carl Hiaasen. Knopf. 336 pages. $26.95.
Bad Monkey. Carl Hiaasen. Knopf. 336 pages. $26.95.

Meet the author

Who: Carl Hiaasen

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Temple Judea, 5500 Granada Blvd., Coral Gables

Cost: Free tickets at Books & Books locations.

Information: 305-442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com


Carl Hiaasen’s comic thrillers come with a guarantee — broad humor that capitalizes on absurd behavior; Florida quirkiness; social commentary that rivals Jonathan Swift, and a deep concern for the environment, all wrapped in a solid plot.

Hiaasen delivers all that and more in Bad Monkey, his 13th comic crime fiction novel. But no matter how over the top his story gets, he grounds it in reality — Florida type-reality, that is, in which scams and schemes co-exist on every corner.

Former Miami cop and soon-to-be former Monroe County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Yancy hasn’t won many friends with his law enforcement colleagues. He lost his Miami job because his attempts to turn in a crooked cop who ran a Crime Stoppers scheme backfired. In Key West, he’s forced on “roach patrol,” or as it is more politely described, restaurant inspector. That’s what happens when a deputy assaults his girlfriend’s husband with a vacuum cleaner.

But Andrew is a good cop, and he can’t turn off those instincts when a man’s arm turns up on the end of a tourist’s fishing line. The arm, which seems to have been part of a shark’s lunch, belongs to Nick Stripling, an entrepreneur in his 40s who made a fortune selling electric scooters to senior citizens. And the man’s wife — or widow — just doesn’t ring true to Andrew.

Andrew is energized by his investigation into the arm and what happened to the rest of the man. If he solves the crime — if there is a crime — maybe he will get his job back. With the help of a lovely Miami medical examiner, Andrew follows a trail that takes him from the Keys to the Bahamas.

Bad Monkey is the closest Hiaasen comes to a police procedural, but true to form, it also is a look at the ludicrous ways of Florida, such as the true bait-and-switch in which a dead sailfish is surreptitiously placed on a tourist’s line. Andrew delights in sending obnoxious people to filthy restaurants, and he has a running battle on how to sabotage the sale of the mega-mansion next door that has spoiled his view of the sunsets and keeps the little Key Deer away. He finds that a bit of well-placed road kill does wonders; so does a bunch of junk made to look like Santeria.

There is indeed a bad monkey, a nasty little creature named Driggs who loves to fling his waste and may have had a role in one of the Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He manages to have his moment in the spotlight, and the laughs come easy in Bad Monkey, as does the affectionate look at Florida’s eccentricities.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed this book for The Sun Sentinel.

Read more Books stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">An Idea Whose Time Has Come:</span> Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.. Todd Purdum. Holt. 398 pages. $30.

    History

    Book assesses the impact of the Civil Rights Act 50 years later

    The veterans of the civil rights movement gathered at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Texas this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and assess its impact. Then the living embodiment of that legislation walked on stage.

  • What do you recommend?

    “The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — it’s a book built around characters and plots inspired by astrological principles. It’s a neo-Victorian murder mystery and a mere 832 pages long, and it made 28-year-old Catton the youngest person to win the coveted Man Booker Prize. The voice is natural, easy to understand and ambitious; she’s a novelist who is seeking to reclaim the authorial, a writer who seeks to entertain and enlighten.”

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">The Boom:</span> How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Russell Gold. Simon & Schuster. 384 pages. $26.

    Nonfiction

    Book considers the pros and cons of fracking

    Author considers both sides of the controversial issue.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category