SKINNY DIP by Carl Hiaasen


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Florida’s preeminent satirist returns from a YA excursion (Hoot, 2002) to ask the eternal question: What happens when the wife you’ve killed isn’t dead?

Joey Perrone can’t imagine why her husband married her or why he wanted to kill her. But it’s too late to ask now that Joey’s struggling to stay afloat several stories below the ship deck he pushed her from during their anniversary cruise. She doesn’t know that Chaz was afraid his wife had discovered that he was nothing but big-ticket farmer Red Hammernut’s “biostute,” a State of Florida biological inspector who was faking the results of phosphate testing in order to give Red’s mega-polluting farm a clean bill of health. Now that she’s presumed dead, Joey and Mick Stranahan, the State’s Attorney’s investigator who’s been pensioned off to the middle of nowhere so that he can rescue her, have all the time in the world to figure out why Chaz wanted to get rid of Joey and what naughty games he’s been up to. Their interventions soon escalate from creepy pranks against the grieving widower to a blackmail demand backed up by a faked video of the murder. Meanwhile, Det. Karl Rolvaag, the investigator who’s counting the days till he can leave South Florida and return to frigid Minnesota, develops suspicions of his own about Ricca Spillman, the stylist who’s been solacing Chaz. And Earl Edward O’Toole, the apelike minder Hammernut has hung around Chaz’s neck, begins to move beyond inarticulate resentment at the bullet lodged in his butt-crease when he’s befriended by an elderly cancer patient whose Fentanyl patch he’s swiping. The crew is rounded out by the usual cargo of zanies, with Hiaasen’s signature attention to nonhuman members of the cast.

“I had a feeling he didn’t love me any more,” muses bobbing Joey, “but this is ridiculous.” It’s also bitingly satirical, sublimely zany, and deeply satisfying.

Pub Date: July 16th, 2004
ISBN: 0-375-41108-9
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2004

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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