STAR ISLAND by Carl Hiaasen


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Now that the Florida real-estate market has gone bust, the insatiable bottom-feeders circle a hilariously untalented starlet, everyone looking for a piece of her before she too crashes and burns.

Cherry Pye—or “the former Cheryl Bunterman,” as Hiaasen calls her—has been in the public eye for half of her 22 years. All that media exposure has taught her some valuable lessons. She knows that she has a natural right to have everyone else dance attendance on her; she knows how to score every drug on the planet and how to mix them with piquant results; and she’s even learning how to lip-synch the lyrics a less scarifying vocal artist has supplied for her second comeback album, Skantily Klad. Cherry’s circle of hangers-on can’t match her impervious innocence. Her botoxed twin publicists, Lucy and Lila Lark, are constantly cooking up new schemes without revealing them to her. Unbeknownst to her, her parents have long engaged savvy actress Ann DeLuisa to act as her “undercover stunt double,” circulating among her wide-eyed public when she’s indisposed, and decoying paparazzi like Bang Abbott, whose Pulitzer Prize is just a tad tarnished. Her pederast promoter Maury Lykes has hired her a new bodyguard, Chemo, whose ideas about cutting himself in for a bigger slice of the action are as inventive as his anatomy (his severed hand has been replaced by a prosthetic weedwhacker). When Bang, whose improbable mile-high hookup with Cherry has given him stratospheric dreams of his own, carjacks Ann out from under Chemo’s nose under the impression that she’s Cherry, and Ann begs Skink, the homeless ex–Florida governor who’s sweet on her, to come to her rescue, the plot may seem to be boiling over. In the hands of a master farceur like Hiaasen (Nature Girl, 2006, etc.), however, the major hijinks are just beginning.

Clueless celebrities and criminal paparazzi provide the perfect match and the perfect metaphor for contemporary public culture. And you never know which sentences are going to end with a back flip.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-307-27258-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2010

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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