Carl Hiaasen has long been at the forefront of satire and outrageous comedy in crime writing but his last few books had lacked the righteous anger of his earlier efforts. Basket Case
proves a welcome and thoroughly enjoyable return to corrosive form for the crusading Miami Herald
journalist it's better not to cross. Instead of his customary and by now predictable targets of venal developers and corporate greed, Hiaasen here skewers the rock & roll business and its attendant denizens and hangers-on with wilful glee and a mischievous use of insider information (the title of the book is also that of a song from the forthcoming album by Warren Zevon, an iconoclastic singer with whom Hiaasen has collaborated before). A flamboyant rock singer dies in a suspicious diving accident off the Bahamas coast and disgraced and bolshie reporter Jack Tagger assigned to his obituary uncovers a nest of puzzles. Did his Courtney Love look-alike younger wife kill him to appropriate the tapes of his comeback album? Will Jack best his venal proprietors and redeem his journalistic integrity? Why does his young and nubile editor wear sexy nail polish on her toes? The jokes and witty observations come fast and furious, and it's a pleasing ride through more Florida craziness and a scintillating gallery of characters gleaned from headlines including a parade of musical crazies straight from Spinal Tap, ex-girlfriends with obligatory jailbait daughters and journalists you would never think of trusting your life to. --Maxim Jakubowski
When a whole slew of authors admit to being influenced by Carl Hiaasen, it's clear that his cult status is fully established. But the strange, surrealistic quality of his writing is a hard act to sustain, and although such books as Tourist Season brilliantly create a world that is very much his own, there is a certain suspense with the appearance of each new Hiaasen title. Can he pull it off again? In the case of Basket Case, the answer is a resounding yes. This novel (with its mix of journalists, lizards and rock 'n' roll) is as outrageously entertaining as its predecessors and features Jack Tagger, a frustrated journalist whose inability to curb his tongue has consigned him to the obits page.