Recommend a Carl Hiaasen novel for my wife

My wife’s in a book club that has the nasty habit of selecting books democratically. This month, they’re reading Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. Subway Prophetess was subjected to The daVinci Code last year, and barely made it through the first chapter of A&D before the writing style and characterization compelled her to throw the book across the room.

She’s now reading Harry Turtledove’s Guns of the South on my recommendation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t like Turtledove’s style much more than Brown’s, and so the book is moving very slowly.

My wife read Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot a few years ago, and loved it. She was a little disappointed that he hasn’t written more young adult literature. The only other Hiaasen book she’s heard of is Striptease. She’s from a pretty conservative family, and thinks that while she may appreciate the book, she wouldn’t enjoy it so much, based on the main character’s profession.

Personally, the only book of Hiaasen’s I’ve read is the one he wrote about the Kingdom the Rat, which is non-fiction, but well-written and fun to read. (Admittedly, in my case, he was preaching to the choir…) I wasn’t surprised to discover that the author was a reporter in a previous life.

I’d like to recommend another Hiaasen book, probably one of his mysteries, but I couldn’t tell her where to begin. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Hmmm. if strippers bother her, then I’m not sure that Hiaasen is the author for her. Many of his characters are low-lifes with some serious kinks. There’s also some merit to the argument that if you’ve read one Hiaasen novel, you’ve read them all. So…Sick Puppy, Native Tongue, Stormy Weather, are all good. As I recall, Basket Case departed from the formula a bit in that it wasn’t as determinedly absurdist (although the protagonist did end up fending off an attacker with a frozen lizard).

I believe Tourist Season was Hiaasen’s first novel, and it is my favorite of the ones I’ve read (his first five or six novels, but none of the newer stuff). I always thought it would make a great movie, and it would certainly have to be better than the Striptease and Hoot movies. But anyway, he’s a great writer, and that’s a very solid book.

If she liked the juvie “Hoot”, he also wrote “Flush”.

She should also check out the works of Christopher Moore, if she likes Hiassen.

Moore’s stuff is a riot. “Lamb: the Gospel according to Biff, Christ’s childhood pal”, “The stupidest Angel” and many others, he’s the thinking man’s Dave Barry, and more!

I agree that “Tourist Season” would be good, but also “Native Tongue”. Keep in mind, his characters are bizarre and crude in places.

I think Tourist Season is the place to start, as well.

If you like Hiaason, you might also enjoy Tim Dorsey. I’m thoroughly hooked. He makes Hiaason’s characters seem mostly normal in comparison. So far, Cadillac Beach has been the best of his.

Whoops - could a mod please fix my coding? I got interrupted & blew it. Thanks.

“Lucky You” might be a way to go – it isn’t as offbeat as some, although it has its moments. (Spoilered to cover my tuchus, here):

It does have a bunch of alternatively-Christian nutbars who paint the apostles’ faces on turtles …

… so if she’s religiously conservative (as opposed to just politically), she probably won’t appreciate it as much as others do. “Skinny Dip,” Hiaasen’s latest, is also really good. My favorite is “Sick Puppy,” because it’s the one I read first – I have all his fiction, even “Hoot” and “Flush,” and I don’t think there’s a dud in the bunch.

If I may make an alternative suggestion, what about Dave Barry’s “Big Trouble”? I love Dave Barry, but that notwithstanding, I still think it’s a pretty OK book on its own merits. Kind of Hiaasen-esque without the radical environmentalists and the attacks with frozen lizards. I found it a quick read, and Barry doesn’t pretend to be a writer of serious literature, so it’s not all puffed up and full of itself. (Compared to Dan Brown, I mean.)

And I’m with Qadgop – Christopher Moore is pretty awesome. I just finished “Fluke, or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings,” and I fell in love with him all over again.

The good thing about Hiaasen is that all of his books read the same; so, if you’ve read one, you’ve pretty much covered all of the others. (I can’t speak for Hoot, though. Maybe he takes a different path with his juvenile books.) The first one I ever picked up was Lucky You. It wasn’t bad; Hiaasen has always struck me a writer who’s thiiiiis close to being great in his genre, but doesn’t quite get there. Much like Elmore Leonard.

Oh, and I third (fourth?) Christopher Moore. He certainly gets better with each novel; his last two have been great. (I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Bloodsucking Fiends A Love Story.)

Heh. I’m reading that now.[nitpick]The people painting the turtles aren’t nutbars, they’re just scamming the Christian nutjobs. It’s the same couple with the “weeping” Madonna.[/nitpick]

Concur. I like Moore’s Pine Cove novels the best. I want to visit Maven’s bar, although Maven would probably scare me half to death. As for Barry’s novel, (working off of spotty memory) it might be the best choice if the group is a bit uptight about a novel’s sexual content.

OK, it’s been a little while since I read “Lucky You,” and IIRC, you will find that the situation changes a little bit. Sort of. I mean, nuts is nuts, but there are different kinds of crazy, you know?

rockle, I should finish over the weekend. I think I know what you’re talking about, but who knows how much more twisted some of Hiassen’s characters can become.

I’d go with Strip Tease: a nice strong heroine, who, although a talented dancer, only strips to

pay the legal bills to recover her daughter from her scumbag ex-husband

with the aid of a Cuban cop and and a giant but gentlemanly bouncer: no spoilers to say that, as in all Hiaasen novels, justice triumphs and villainy gets its lumps in a variety of ingeniously appropriate manners.

The heroine, anyway, dislikes her job, but it’s the best way to pay the bills. An interesting insight into the workings of strip clubs - I assume Hiaasen, as always, has done his research thoroughly - and the dupes and villains are all men, who are pathetically obsessed with a glimpse of tit.

If your wife’s of a conservative mien, well, there isn’t much in the way of actual sex in the book, and the only {!] kinks are a corrupt politician’s infatuation with the protagonist. I’d recommend it highly: of all of Hiassen’s gleeful revenge fantasies, this one probably requires the least suspension of disbelief.

I fourth or fifth or whatever Tim Dorsey, Dave Barry (his two novels, at least), and Christopher Moore. But read the other Chris Moore books before you read The Stupidest Angel. In fact, they’re best read in order, because some of them build on previous characters and situations; this is especially true of The Stupidest Angel. And a word of warning: while most of his books have fantasy-like characters such as demons and vampires, Fluke is more science fictionish.

And I agree that Tim Dorsey’s best book so far is Cadillac Beach, at least of the books I’ve read, which admittedly are only that one, Torpedo Juice, and Florida Roadkill, although I’m in the middle of Hammerhead Ranch Motel right now. Cadillac Beach is just really, really cool.

As for Hiaasen, I’d go with Native Tongue or Tourist Season. They’re great, and they’re what I started with. I agree that his books have similar themes, but each one is like a priceless treasure that should be read for its unique characteristics.

But if she liked Hoot, she’d definitely enjoy Flush, his other young adult book. Instead of fighting to save burrowing owls, the kids fight to prove that a ship owner is illegally dumping sewage into the ocean. Awesome book that I’m going to have my kids read as soon as they finish Hoot.

Oh, and his latest, Skinny Dip, is probably a good one to start with too, about a scheming evil husband who throws his wife off a cruise ship on the first page, and about how she schemes to get back at him. Plus although the main (male) character is recycled from Skin Tight, so if you like him, you can go back and see more of him in that book. Main characters aren’t usually recycled like that in Hiaasen’s books, although secondary characters like Skink and Al Garcia and Jim Tile show up in many, if not most, of the books.

But so far, I’ve loved every one of his books, and the same is true of Dave Barry’s novels, Tim Dorsey’s novels, and Christopher Moore’s novels. They’re really great.

Skinny Dip is the book that intoduced my mom to Hiaasen, and it’s also one of my favorites. The heroine is well-written and my mom had an easy time relating to her. Plus, If your wife likes poetic justice, this novel contains a healthy dollop of it.

Come to think of it, poetic justice is one of Hiaasen’s specialties. :wink:

lucky you, ah what a book. i laughed so hard about turtle boy i scared the cats for at least a half hour.

mr hiaasen is good. his characters do seem to have trouble finding the e.r… mr barry’s books are equally funny and his characters don’t have as many bizarre accidents. scared the cats again, with his doughnut scene in the old age home.

I vote for “Native Tongue.” All of his books are about Florida life, and what’s more Floridian than Disneyland? The tension between the totally bogus Amazon Kingdom of Thrills (aka Disneyland) and the real people who work there is hilariously handled by Hiaasen. I’d say it’s more sheer fun than any of his other books, and thus is a better intro to Hiaasen than his other works.

Damn, I read that one and hoping that he’d have more that were even better. Cadillac Beach is really twisted. I prefer Hiaasen’s style though.

Hiaasen is one of my favorite 16 hours in a plane author. I read both Sick Puppy and Skin Tight with Cadillac Beach sandwiched in between on the last return flight a few months ago.

Heh, I just read Angels and Demons last weekend. A co-worker lent it to me. Great lit, it was not, and I’m still astounded that all the events took place supposedly in one day. I think.

Anyway, the only reason I’m posting is that about two hours ago, I plucked a Carl Hiassen to re-read. “Stormy Weather”, to be precise.

All his books are good, but you gotta have a yen for black humour, doncha think?

Well, I did finish over the weekend.

Demencio, the turtle painter, stayed true to form. He’s nothing but a scam artist. Sinclair, the former newspaper editor, went over the deep end. Skinner’s mom, as best as I can tell, was just another scam artist trying to cash in on the pilgrims. The Jesus omelet - heh.