SICK PUPPY by Carl Hiaasen


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Will another unspoiled Florida island be turned into a paradise for golfers and crooked developers and politicians? Hiassen tells all in this hilariously barbed but rambling exposÇ. The richness of the satire is indicated by the fetishes given nearly every participant to the controversy over Shearwater (Toad) Island. Lobbyist Palmer Stoat lives to make deals, smoke cigars, and hunt the senile denizens of the local Wilderness Veldt Plantation. The pliant target of his latest campaign, Gov. Dick Artemus, still approaches every human relationship as another exercise in selling Toyotas. Hopeful Shearwater developer Robert Clapley, who never got over his adolescent attachment to Barbie dolls, is surgically enhancing a pair of willing young women to resemble twin Barbies. Clapley’s soft-spoken enforcer, Mr. Gash, collects recordings of 911 emergency calls. Twilly Spree, the angry young man who gives the novel its title, is a self-appointed nemesis to litterbugs like Palmer Stoat. It’s only Palmer’s long-suffering wife Desirata who escapes getting labeled by her hangup, and that’s because, like Palmer’s black Lab Boodle, whom Twilly kidnaps and renames McGuinn, she functions as a hangup herself for so many others. But though the inventive connections between fetishism and capitalism, lobbying and extortion, anger management and tyranny show Hiaasen the satirist—last glimpsed in the columns collected in Kick Ass (p. 1546)—at the top of his game, Hiaasen the novelist relies on too many coincidences, too shaggy a plot, and too many curtain calls for crazy sage Clinton Tyree (Stormy Weather, 1995, etc.), the one-eyed ex-governor/wild man who personifies everything the author only wishes were true of Florida politics. Not top-drawer Hiaasen, then, but its selling points do include much sex, none of it in the missionary position, and a detailed concluding account of the characters— later lives, in the manner of Dickens on ‘ludes.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 2000
ISBN: 0-679-45445-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999

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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