I was reminded two days ago of Carl Hiaasen, when I was going trough a pile of books someone was getting rid of, and came across one of his. I always grab whatever Hiaasen books come along free, because I know that at some point, this will happen:
“Huh. That reminds me of something in a Carl Hiaasen book. Have you read any of those?”
“Uh. No. Never heard of him.”
“Well, you should. He writes pretty fun novels, like the one where the Native American guy and the ex-reporter hired a helicopter to drop Guccis and Macy’s gift bags full of poisonous snakes onto the deck of a luxury cruise linger off the Florida coast.”
“Oh, and there’s one about bass fishing. Double Whammy. It’s the name of a lure. Get it?”
“Oh never mind, it can’t really be explained, you can’t really describe these books so anyone. Just read it.”
And by this time I’ve dug out one of those Hiaasen novels I’ve been saving to give away, and I shove it into the person’s hands. “Just read this.”
And they do, then they read all the other ones too.
Carl Hiaasen’s first novel that got widely read is Tourist Season. It has been some time since I read it, but roughly, it is about a group of renegades who are living in the everglades (as in IN the everglades) and intent on stopping tourism in Florida, in order to see development roll back. They use interesting techniques.
The rest of Hiaasen’s novels, at least for several in a row, follow a similar approach. The main character is an ex-something. Ex journalist, ex cop, whatever. This individual finds himself embroiled in some sort of scheme or plot, typically involving grungy good guys pitted against truly evil villainous villains. Somewhere in there is a female love interest of the ex-dude.
While most of the characters change from story to story, two stay the same. One is the former governor of Florida, and the other his the Governor’s former body guard named Jim.
Hiaasen also wrote several books for kids, with the same style but OK for eight to 12 year olds or so. Both my kids like them. See: Hiaasen 4-Book Trade Paperback Box Set (Chomp, Flush, Hoot, Scat).
The actual order of Carl Hiaasen non kid, fiction, books is as follows:
Not including the Governor of Florida:
Powder Burn, 1981
Trap Line, 1982
A Death in China, 1984
Including the governor of Florida, mostly, though I’ve not read the last three:
Tourist Season, 1986
Double Whammy, 1987
Skin Tight, 1989
Native Tongue, 1991
Strip Tease, 1993
Stormy Weather, 1995
Lucky You, 1997
Sick Puppy, 2000
Basket Case, 2002
Skinny Dip, 2004
Nature Girl, 2006
Star Island, 2010
Bad Monkey, 2013
Skink-No Surrender (2014)
Razor Girl (2016)
Hiaasen is a journalist and commentator long with the Miami Herald. He’s written several non fiction books that include his columns.
Today, of course, I’m reminded of Carl Hiaasen again, for a sad reason: His brother, Rob, was one of those killed in today’s tragic shooting in Maryland.