Now I’ve read a few Carl Hiaasen books in my time and they are all highly entertaining romps through the seedy side of Florida life. After reading some nasty crime thriller or strange vintage science-fiction it is something of a palate cleanser to have Hiaasen’s larger than life do-gooders, criminals and various other Floridian scumbags running amok.
The main action concerns housewife Joey Perrone who is ‘killed’ by her husband when he pushes her off a cruise ship (but she fails to expire) and then follows her as she sets out to work out what’s going on and exact some vengeance. It seems that most of Hiaasen’s books have a vague environmental theme and this one is no different with one of the main protagonists running an ecologically unsound farming operation which leaches various poisonous chemicals back into the delicate eco-system of the Everglades. With a back up cast of oddballs and psycho’s you know there’s always something amusing just around the corner.
I think Hiaasen’s appeal is a wicked turn of phrase combined with some sort of crime/environmental issue and the ridiculousness that is Florida. If I didn’t know better I think I would have just assumed that all the strange crimes and even stranger criminals in his books were the product of an over-active imagination but having read news website Fark before I would imagine he’s just threading some of the more surreal crimes from the local news into his stories (as an example this article was the first Florida story on Fark when I was writing this post – and if you want more equally bizarre stories just go to Fark and scroll down to you come to a story with ‘Florida’ by it).