Book review: Hiaasen unleashes more South Florida looniness

Sun SentinelJune 22, 2013 

"Bad Monkey" by Carl Hiaasen.

  • Fiction Bad Monkey Carl Hiaasen

    Knopf, 336 pages

Carl Hiaasen’s comic thrillers come with a guarantee – broad humor that capitalizes on people’s absurd behavior and Florida’s quirkiness, mixed with social commentary and a deep concern for the environment, all wrapped in a solid plot. He delivers all that and more in “Bad Monkey,” his 13th comic crime fiction.

Former Miami cop and soon-to-be former Monroe County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Yancy hasn’t won many friends among his colleagues. He lost his Miami job because his attempts to turn in a crooked cop backfired. And in Key West, he’s forced on “roach patrol” – or, as it is more politely described, restaurant inspection. That’s because it doesn’t look good when a deputy assaults his girlfriend’s husband.

But Andrew is a good cop, and he can’t turn off those instincts when a man’s arm turns up on the end of a tourist’s fishing line. The arm belongs to Nick Stripling, an entrepreneur who made a fortune selling electric scooters to senior citizens. And the man’s wife (or is it his widow?) just doesn’t ring true to Andrew.

He’s energized by what happened to the rest of the man. If he solves the crime, if there is a crime, maybe he will get his job back. “Bad Monkey” is the closest Hiaasen comes to a police procedural, but, true to form, it also is a look at the ludicrous ways of Florida, such as the true bait-and-switch in which a dead sailfish is surreptitiously placed on a tourist’s line. Andrew delights in sending obnoxious people to filthy restaurants, and he has a running battle on how to sabotage the sale of the mega-mansion next door that has spoiled his view.

There is indeed a bad monkey in “Bad Monkey.” And he manages to have his moment in the spotlight. The laughs come easy in “Bad Monkey,” as does the social commentary and the affectionate look at Florida’s eccentricities.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service