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Basket Case Hardcover – 22 Feb 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 edition (22 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033390804X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333908044
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 547,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of twelve novels, including the bestselling Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy and Lucky You, and three bestselling children's books, Hoot, Flush and Scat. They have been translated into 34 languages, 33 more than he can read or write. Carl Hiaasen also writes an award-winning column for The Miami Herald.

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Amazon Review

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.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Feb. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Carl Hiaasen has stuck with his own brand of dry humour and strange characters - in Basket Case, Jack Tagger stores a pretzel-shaped lizard popsicle in his freezer and earns his living writing obituaries for the local newspaper (well, someone has to). Unhealthily obsessed with the manner and timing of his own eventual death, Jack investigates the early demise of former rock legend Jimmy Stoma in an unlikely skin-diving accident, suspecting that the grieving widow (most famous thus far for flashing more than just a smile on MTV) is even less innocent than she appears.
This book contains all the usual elements of a Hiaasen novel: bizarre coincidences, strange personality quirks and absurdly violent deaths. I also felt this one was personal for Hiaasen, a scathing attack on the demise of good journalism and quality newspapers. As a result, Basket Case has slightly less of the whimsical and flippant touch that typifies some of his previous novels, but is none the worse for it. Thoroughly recommended, as are all Hiaasen's novels.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Mar. 2002
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has always loved Mr. Hiaasen's early work, I confess I found his last book a little disappointing, and felt he was retreading old ground almost to the point of just cladding the same basic "ecological rape by besuited money-men" plot in new clothes. This was never less than entertaining, but had begun to feel as though the imaginative impetus had begun to run out of steam.
I'm pleased to say then that I thought this is a return to something like his best form, and, centred as it is on the "dumbing down" of provincial journalism and the world of rock music, subjects obviously very close to the author's heart, it couples the usual genuinely suspenseful plot line with both sympathetic and grotesquely amusing characters.
Definitely strongly recommended for previous fans. Just one minor thing - I don't know how old Mr. Hiaasen is, but I can't help wonder about a minor creeping tendancy in his work for the middle aged hero to waltz away with the gorgeous heroine 20 years his junior.....
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
You read one Carl Hiaasen book, you enjoy it. You read four or five of his books and you begin to wonder whether he can write about anything else except the substandard intelligence of Floridian white-trash and the damage that particular subspecies does to the environment.
In "Basket Case", thankfully, Mr. Hiaasen gives us a genuinely comic story although it has to be said that it does still feature some intellectually-challenged Floridians. What makes the story especially enjoyable however is that the twin barrels of Hiaasen's satire are aimed at the deserving targets of the music industry and journalism. Anybody who has despaired at the current state of music will enjoy the description of Cleo Rio, the talentless but driven one-hit wonder, and her attempts to steal a ride to the top of the charts. The dumbing-down of journalism is also an entertaining feature of the story and anybody who reads this will pay far greater attention to the newspaper obituaries in future!
As always with Hiaasen his minor characters prove memorable. L'Oréal, the perm-haired producer; Jerry, the imbecilic goon; Mac Polk, the crotchety millionaire with revenge on his mind; Juan, the sports-journalist-stud who wants to be a real writer; and of course, the dead reptile.
This is definitely one of his best books; it's well-paced, character-driven and has new and refreshing satiricial targets. Except for the slightly weak ending I would have given it 5 stars. As it is, an enjoyable 4-stars rating . . a must for anybody who has read Hiaasen and a good introduction to the man's unique style for those who haven't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
Spectacularly Performed Unabridged Audio August 22, 2003 [Edit Review]
When Basket Case first came out, I read the book and enjoyed it very much. Finding myself in the mood for some humor in my audio cassette listening while I drive, I was delighted to see that Recorded Books has produced an unabridged version of the book narrated by George Wilson. His treatment of the book greatly improved how much I enjoyed it the second time. If you have neither read the book nor listened to an audio cassette version, I recommend that you listen to the audio and skip the book. You will double your laughs if you do!
Only a talented journalist could have ever concocted this story. It's filled with love for the profession and appropriate warnings against too much focus on the bottom line.
As the book opens, Jack Tagger, aged 46, explains how he came to serve as an obituary writer on the Union-Register, now owned by the publicly traded Maggad-Feist. In protest against the ham-handed policies of the new owners, Jack insulted the CEO (whom he likes to call Master Race Maggad III) at the shareholder's meeting. Maggad was afraid to fire Jack because of the potential for a law suit, so Jack was relegated to the obituary pages . . . hoping he would resign in disgust. Instead, he hangs on for dear life, hoping to make life difficult for all those around him, including his young editor, Emma. His objective is to drive her out of journalism (for her own good). The humor quickly becomes apparent as Jack reveals a morbid fascination with how old celebrities were when they died. Did you know that Jack Kerouac died at 47?
Into this mess of a frustrated career and life falls a brief notice of a death of one James Bradley Stomarti at 39.
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