Carl Hiaasen's Bad Monkey

Rejoice! For Carl Hiaasen, author of the funniest crime novels in the business, bar none, has a new book out! Bad Monkey has just arrived on shelves and it is every bit as hilarious as you could hope -- I spent the weekend reading choice bits aloud to whomever I could grab, and giggling noisily to myself when no one was around. This is vintage Hiaasen, which is to say it is absurdist, gross, human, sexy, weird, and as Floridian as a styrofoam snowman despoiling the Everglades.

Summarizing Hiaasen's many plot-threads and twisty-turns is a mug's game, but here's his publisher's synopsis:

Andrew Yancy—late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office—has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first—this being Hiaasen country—Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including his just-ex lover, a hot-blooded fugitive from Kansas; the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; two avariciously optimistic real-estate speculators; the Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen, whose suitors are blinded unto death by her peculiar charms; Yancy’s new true love, a kinky coroner; and the eponymous bad monkey, who with hilarious aplomb earns his place among Carl Hiaasen’s greatest characters.

Which captures some of the spirit of the story, but what's missing is the fantastic satisfaction of reading a new Hiaasen, wherein the most baroque and evil villains and foils each get some form of karmic retribution that is both wildly unlikely and, in hindsight, inevitable. Hiaasen's a master of the revenge fantasy who makes the rest of us look like amateurs. And despite this -- or perhaps because of it -- he still writes some of the best, most likable antiheroes in the business, and Andrew Yancy is no exception. Lucky us, there's a new Hiaasen! Now, to begin the long, agonizing wait for the next one!

Bad Monkey

Previous Hiassen reviews:

* Star Island

* Basket Case

* Nature Girl


  1. This author has brought so many smiles and laughing out loud  in dark airplanes over the years.  Based solely on this review, I will lighted up on my somewhat harsh interpretation of Boing Boing as a place for only those who take themselves way too seriously.  OK, maybe at least for the next week.   
    Thank you for the tip on what will certainly be a roller coaster of a fun summer read. 
    Charmed, I am sure.

  2. I can’t wait, that one is on deck after I finish the last Michael Connelly book (Black Box) so the humor will be a nice change.  Then Joyland after that, the new King novel.
    To this day, one of my favorite passages from a novel is when we are introduced to Skink.

  3. I’ve been a  Carl Hiaasen fan for years.  I was born in Miami, grew up there, and can really identify with the people & atmosphere he creates in his books. I think his books have special meaning and insights to those of us who are native to the area.  It could also explain why I now live far away in the Pacific Northwest. :-)

  4. You’d think that after 15 years of Fark being online, there’d be enough proof to force Hiaasen to admit he’s not a fiction writer. 

  5. WARNING: do NOT attempt to drink any liquids while reading a Hiaasen book! Unless you actually like liquids exploding out your nose.

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