A severed arm that a visiting angler hooks off Key West kicks off Hiaasen’s 13th criminal comedy.
Though he’s anything but eager to follow Monroe County Sheriff Sonny Summers’ bidding and drive the arm to Miami to see if it belonged to some local stiff, the encounter Andrew Yancy has with Miami Assistant Medical Examiner Rosa Campesino, which ends with him taking the arm back home and parking it in his freezer, starts to change his attitude toward the case. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s been suspended from the Sheriff’s Department and banished to the gruesome post of restaurant inspector. But once the arm is identified as that of developer Nicholas Stripling, Yancy, calling himself “Inspector Yancy,” takes it on himself to question Nicky’s wife, Eve, his estranged daughter, Caitlin Cox, Eve’s sworn enemy, and several other concerned parties. When two of these parties are shot to death very shortly after their chats with Yancy, he knows he’s onto something, even though the imperviously obtuse Sonny Summers doesn’t. Leaving behind his “future former girlfriend” Bonnie Witt, who’s just revealed an unexpectedly colorful personal history to him, Yancy takes Rosa along to follow the arm’s trail to Lizard Cay, Bahamas, where more crazies await: a toothless voodoo priestess called the Dragon Queen, her hapless client Neville Stafford, whose troubles bear an uncanny resemblance to Yancy’s own, and his companion Driggs, a monkey reputed to have worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The mind-boggling plot will require yet another Hiaasen hurricane, a house fire, several perp walks for diverse felonies and a healthy dose of cleansing violence to bring down the curtain.
Not as funny as Hiaasen’s best (Star Island, 2010, etc.), with a title character more vicious than amusing, but still the gold standard for South Florida criminal farce.