DOUBLE WHAMMY by Carl Hiaasen
Kirkus Star


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Veteran of three taut but traditional thrillers (with William B. Montalbo: Powder Burn, 1981; Trap Line, 1982; A Death in China, 1984), Hiaasen unveiled an original madcap voice steeped in black humor when he finally soloed in last year's satirical crimemeller, Tourist Trap. Here, he sings on in that same fine, mordant key as a Florida P.I. tackles corruption in the quirky milieu of big-time bass fishing. In Hiaasen's whacked-out world, only photographer-turned P.I., R.J. Decker and his ex-wife Catherine have their heads screwed on straight. So despite Catherine's remarriage, the two stay in close touch when Decker plunges into deep water after rich bass-fishing buff Dennis Gault hires him to prove that archrival Dickie Lockhart cheats at the fishing tourneys Lockhart invariably wins. Decker is hot-tempered and quick-fisted, but even with Catherine's help he's no match for the slew of oddball villains standing between him and a successful case: not only Lockhart and his nympho sister, Lanie; and Rev. Weeb, a TV-preacher who funds Lockhart's bass-fishing TV series and promotes condos built on PCB-riddled sludge; but also Gault's (he's a villain too, framing Decker for murder) hired thug Thomas Curl, who kidnaps Catherine while lurching around with the decaying head of a pit bull clamped onto his arm. Lucky for Decker, help comes in the Paul Bunyansized Skink, an eccentric fisherman who happens to be an incognito, embittered exgovernor of Florida. With Skink at his side, Decker exposes Lockhart as a cheat, Gault as a killer, and Weeb as a fraud--and by rescuing Catherine, rekindles their own true love. Not a perfect mystery/farce--Decker is too weak a protagonist, with trappings too standard-P.I., to properly anchor the wild goings-on. Still, with its byzantine plot and wonderful, weird denizens, this is one of the most delightfully inventive and entertaining crime novels of the year.
Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1987
ISBN: 0446695661
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1987

Kirkus Interview
Carl Hiaasen
author of RAZOR GIRL
November 7, 2016

In Razor Girl, Carl Hiaasen’s new novel, when Lane Coolman's car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but. Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield—the eponymous Razor Girl—and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page. There's Trebeaux, the owner of Sedimental Journeys--a company that steals sand from one beach to restore erosion on another…Dominick "Big Noogie" Aeola, a NYC mafia capo with a taste for tropic-wear…Buck Nance, a Wisconsin accordionist who has rebranded himself as the star of a redneck reality show called Bayou Brethren…and Andrew Yancy—formerly Detective Yancy, busted down to the Key West roach patrol after accosting his then-lover's husband with a Dust Buster. Yancy believes that if he can singlehandedly solve a high-profile murder, he'll get his detective badge back. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy's future will be as surprising as anything else he encounters along the way—including the giant Gambian rats that are livening up his restaurant inspections. “How can Hiaasen possibly tie together all this monkey business in the end?” our reviewer asks in a starred review. “His delirious plotting is so fine-tuned that preposterous complications that would strain lesser novelists fit right into his antic world. Relax, enjoy, and marvel anew at the power of unbridled fictional invention.” View video >


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