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!
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