TOURIST SEASON by Carl Hiaasen


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Satiric mystery adventure about a crazed Miami reporter and an eruption of bloodlust meant to drive off the tourists and developers. It's December and the loyal Shriners have arrived in southern Florida for their annual Miami Beach bash. Theodore Bellamy goes out for a swim with his wife Nell, gets stung by a man-of-war and after two fake "lifeguards" take him off to a hospital, disappears. What happens to B.D. "Sparky" Harper, President of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, is much worse: with a toy rubber alligator stuffed down his throat, his 190 pounds (smeared with suntan oil) are chewed off at the knees and stuffed into a piece of Samsonite luggage, head and all--wearing black wraparound sunglasses. And that's just the start of varied bombings, an aerial assault (dropping rattlesnakes) on a cruise ship, and other horrors perpetrated by the so-called "El Fuego, Comandante, Las Noches de Diciembre" (The Fire, the Nights of December). Brian Keyes, private investigator, is hired to help defend Ernesto Cabal, small-time burglar accused of murdering Harper for his car. Brian's investigation eventually circles back to the Miami Sun--where there are many, many nuts, chief of whom is Skip Wiley, a once-celebrated columnist whose lunatic writings are so bizarre that his own editor has put Wiley and his columns under psychiatric examination. Chief terrorist Wiley at last kidnaps the Orange Bowl Queen and stakes her onto a coral isle that is about to be dynamited for later bulldozing by land developers. What Wiley hates is "an entire generation of blow-dried rapists with phones in their Volvos and five-million-dollar lines of credit and secretaries who give head"--i.e., greedy, blind land-developers. Hiaasen gives an up-to-date sharpness to the old Hecht-MacArthur Front Page cynicism as he slices up limbs for his boiling pot-of-horrors. With this kind of thick-skinned black humor, real feelings would be intrusive--even about ecology and the rape of Florida. Everything is sacrificed to a news-hound humor that is as forced as it is cynical. But if you like your gallows laughs with gall, this could be for you.
Pub Date: March 24th, 1986
ISBN: 0446695718
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1986

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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