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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More insight into Floridian insanity
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...
Published on 28 Feb 2002

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit or Miss?
A different style of writing for "Basket Case" and a different bunch of characters. No mention of Skink, which you may see as either a good or bad thing. I got into the book very easily and like many of his others, found it hard to put down. However, i don't rate it quite as highly as Striptease or Native Tongue. The macarbe, gruesome and twisted deaths of the...
Published on 5 Nov 2005 by dubdee1000


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More insight into Floridian insanity, 28 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Basket Case (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A return to form for the master...., 9 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Basket Case (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast & funny: "Spinal Tap" on speed for the MTV generation, 12 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Basket Case (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly Performed Unabridged Audio, 9 Jun 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Basket Case (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. Something rings a bell, and suddenly Jack realizes that Stomarti is also known as Jimmy Stoma of the recording group, Jimmy and the Sl_t Puppies. Jack sells Emma on the idea of doing a feature on this, pointing out that the new managing editor is a Sl_t Puppies fan.
Over the course of the book, you'll learn what caused Jimmy Stoma to die, the ages at which a lot of celebrities died, and quite a bit about the newspaper business. The main theme is that good reporting will win out, and make the world a better place . . . both for the readers and for the reporters and editors.
This story has enough charm and convolutions to keep anyone amused for weeks. I recommend that you listen to the audio in small doses so you can cherish each wonderful line.
After you finish listening, think about where persistence can pay off in your life. How can you make the world a better place?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel Full of Darn Fine Reading, 7 Jan 2008
By 
Laurel Whitehead (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Basket Case (Paperback)
Because Jack Tagger, former ace investigative reporter for the Union-Register, had the gall to publicly humiliate the young CEO of the publishing group that purchased the paper in front of the shareholders, he has been demoted to writing obituaries.

Jack listens to the re-released CDs of a lot of '70 rock bands as his music of choice, so when he hears that Jimmy Stoma, of Jimmy and the {small} Puppies, has turned up dead after scuba-diving in the Caribbean, he wants to know a little more that just what has come across the obituary desk.

Unfortunately his obit editor allows him no leeway, so he starts to investigate on his own time, because the headman for the rock group that gave the world such songs as "Mouth Full of Muscle," and the Grammy-Award winning album A PAINFUL BURNING SENSATION deserves more than only few lines in a obit column.

He sets out to dig up some answers, tracking down Stoma's widow, a Courtney Love type pop star called Cleo Rio; the surviving band members; and Stoma's Internet stripper sister Janet.

The story zooms along to its satisfying end, powered by delicious dialogue, and a quirky but likable cast of characters such as - Juan Rodriguez, womanizing loyal friend and aspiring novelist; Emma Cole, ambitious newspaper editor who has a unique fetish for fluorescent nail-polish; Carla Candilla, the teenage club scene veteran and jailbait daughter of Jack's ex-girlfriend; and Colonel Tom, a 175 dead lizard who sleeps with the Dove Bars in Jack's freezer.

Like Hiaasen's other outrageous offerings, this one will have you laughing the night away and before you know it, you'll be finished with a fine story and you'll have learned a heck a lot about the newspaper business too, in this mucho humorous five star novel.

Review submitted by Captain Katie Osborne
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly Performed Unabridged Audio, 2 April 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
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. Something rings a bell, and suddenly Jack realizes that Stomarti is also known as Jimmy Stoma of the recording group, Jimmy and the Sl_t Puppies. Jack sells Emma on the idea of doing a feature on this, pointing out that the new managing editor is a Sl_t Puppies fan.
Over the course of the book, you'll learn what caused Jimmy Stoma to die, the ages at which a lot of celebrities died, and quite a bit about the newspaper business. The main theme is that good reporting will win out, and make the world a better place . . . both for the readers and for the reporters and editors.
This story has enough charm and convolutions to keep anyone amused for weeks. I recommend that you listen to the audio in small doses so you can cherish each wonderful line.
After you finish listening, think about where persistence can pay off in your life. How can you make the world a better place?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of laughs, 2 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Basket Case (Paperback)
I am a fan of carl hiassen. Because I spend a lot of time in my car travelling to work, I listen to a lot of audio books. Which is how I "read" basket case. I listened on audio and laughed all the way to work and back for several happy days. This book is very funny. Would recommend it, especially on audio. It is easier to relate to the funny and interesting characters. Please read it. It will make you laugh. And that is good for all of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Black Humored Detective Story, 7 Oct 2007
By 
M. A. Ramos (Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Basket case takes a story of a Journalist worried about his own mortality and his run in with the world of Rock-n-Roll. A down and out reporter, Jack Tagger, lets us have inside look at the workings of a reporters mind. Jack works at his local paper who is run by a man who moves the company headquarters to San Diego so his sports car will not rust. And his goal is for the paper to make a 25 percent annual profit margin, at the expense of good news reporting.

Unlike Mr. Hiaasen's other books that I have read, "Basket Case" is written in the first person. And stays with our hero, Jack. It reminds me of the old style detective novels. The book does have violence, with the Hiaasen touch. I especially thought the sever bludgeoning with a frozen monitor lizard was original. So we follow Jack Tagger, down-on-his luck obituary writer for South Florida's Union-Register, as he investigates the mysterious death of a onetime rock star named Jimmy Stoma.

If you are looking for a good read give this one a try.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Bring whipped cream and an English saddle.", 9 Jan 2008
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Forty-six-year-old Jack Tagger has been consigned to writing the obituary column for the past six years after publicly challenging the qualifications of Race Maggad, the new owner of the South Florida newspaper where he works. When he discovers that a former favorite singer, Jimmy Stoma of the Slut Puppies, has died in a diving accident, he decides to investigate--secretly--to keep the Metro department from stealing his potential story. The wild ride that follows takes the reader into the realm of pop music, where Jimmy's less-than-mournful widow Cleo Rio plans her own second CD, aided by an assortment of sleazy characters. As Jimmy's former bandmates also begin to die, Jack Tagger searches for a motive and focuses on Cleo and her producers.

As the resourceful Jack is investigating Jimmy Stoma's death, he is also being pressured to write an early obituary of the former owner of the newspaper--Old Man Polk, who is perennially close to death. Polk, during a hospital interview with Jimmy, confesses that he, too, is appalled by the direction in which Race Maggad has taken the paper, and he has a plan of action to keep things from getting worse. If all this "excitement" were not enough, Jack falls in lust, is victimized by a break-in, gets beaten more than once, and discovers that two women involved with the case have disappeared. His use of a frozen lizard as a weapon reminds the Hiassen fan of Mick Stranahan's use of a stuffed marlin for similar purposes in Skin Tight, and his unbridled libido keeps the action high on more than one level.

Told in the first person, the story gets some life as the reader empathizes with Jack and his self-created predicaments, but the story line follows a traditional mystery story line. Not as tight as some of Hiaasen's earlier stories, the plot wanders and the humor is not as mordant. Well before the end of the story, the reader knows what the outcome is and who the murderer is, but many pages elapse after that in which the author ties up loose ends, explains what happens later, brings closure to a number of issues that have been raised throughout the story, and gives an epilogue to "conclude" a story which could have been concluded at several earlier points in the novel.

Though the novel is fun to read, as are all Hiaasen novels, it is not so off-the-wall, edgy, and sometimes bizarre as the novels which made Hiaasen's reputation. The humor here is more traditional--not so quirky, unexpected, and sexy as some other Hiaasen offerings--and Jack himself, while an iconoclast, is not the free spirit we have come to expect of Hiaasen's heroes. Several years after challenging Race Maggad, he has continued to work for the same paper--writing obituaries--with no apparent plans to assert himself. Filled with pointed satire of the newspaper business, the result, obviously, of Hiaasen's own experience in that business in South Florida, this enjoyable Hiaasen "lite" offering, while not on the "best list," is still great fun to read. Mary Whipple
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly Performed Unabridged Audio, 9 Jun 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Basket Case (Audio Cassette)
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. Something rings a bell, and suddenly Jack realizes that Stomarti is also known as Jimmy Stoma of the recording group, Jimmy and the Sl_t Puppies. Jack sells Emma on the idea of doing a feature on this, pointing out that the new managing editor is a Sl_t Puppies fan.
Over the course of the book, you'll learn what caused Jimmy Stoma to die, the ages at which a lot of celebrities died, and quite a bit about the newspaper business. The main theme is that good reporting will win out, and make the world a better place . . . both for the readers and for the reporters and editors.
This story has enough charm and convolutions to keep anyone amused for weeks. I recommend that you listen to the audio in small doses so you can cherish each wonderful line.
After you finish listening, think about where persistence can pay off in your life. How can you make the world a better place?
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Basket Case
Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen (Paperback - 7 Feb 2003)
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