Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review: Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

I had the pleasure of renting Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen from my local library.  I was on a waitlist so it took over a week but it was well worth it.  Bad Monkey is a funny crime drama about an ex-cop, a severed arm, Medicare fraud, voodoo, deranged love and a really bad monkey. 

Synopsis from the Front Cover:

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.

Here is Hiaasen doing what he does better than anyone else: spinning a tale at once fiercely pointed and wickedly funny in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of what’s left of pristine Florida—now, of the Bahamas as well—get their comeuppance in mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.

Tiffany's Review 
Yancy is smart and witty with a great right hook and the connections to actually see justice to the end.   As a protagonist, he’s almost perfect, having integrity, heart with just enough of a wild side.  He’s the kind of man you’d want in your corner though he does have a knack for getting into trouble.  Whether it's from plain curiosity or bad judgment, this man is a walking calamity.
There are several sub-plots in the book as each character has a story and Hiaasen gives just enough background so that it relates to the story.  It’s definitely not Larsonian levels.  Hiaasen’s sub plots are all in the context of the story and serve a nice aside to the main plot of Yancy and the severed arm mystery.
The story is not very linear.  Hiaasen will take pages to set up an amazing punch line with Yancy and the other characters.  It’s truly a work of art and the shenanigans will have you laughing out loud. 
There is also a lot of cop lingo used and if you’re interested in all the abbreviations you can look them up but none of it takes away from the story so I just retained my ignorance and kept reading. 
I’ve never been into crime genre before but Hiaasen’s work is done so well, I may look into other books like this.  I also now have a great urge to travel to Key West and sip on Barbancourt rum.
Hiaasen is a seasoned writer with many fiction novels, some children’s books and a column in Miami Herald under his belt.  Check here for more work and info on Carl Hiaasen.
I give Bad Monkey 4/5 stars.

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