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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 16 July 1999
Once again Hiassen delivers a great tale about human greed. Based in Florida and dealing with the vain world of plastic surgery, city-wide corruption and those unfortunate to be dragged into its sordid affairs, Hiassen weaves his magic pen. An Amish 7' hit man, an investigative TV crew, a five times married ex-state Attorney and a highly successful yet inept plastic surgeon are all blended together to make this highly enjoyable tale. The humour is dry, morbid at times, but it is all well written and highly probable if but slightly exaggerated. His trademark sarcasm and wit rolls off every page taking the reader to improbable scenarios which are slickly depicted by the author. A great read by one of the funniest authors of our time.
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South Florida has been a national stereotype of corruption since developers began selling underwater real estate in swamps at premium prices in the 1920s to out-of-state "investors." It's been all downhill in the national psyche since then. Is it any wonder that many question the Presidential election results for their honesty in 2000?
Carl Hiaasen is one of our great comic crime writers, and Skin Tight is one of his best efforts. I missed the book when it first came out, but wanted to know more about Mick Stranahan after reading Skinny Dip (which I also loved).
Mick Stranahan is retired from the state police . . . because he was too good at his job. A crooked judge ended up dead, and the judge's friends didn't like that. The reverberations from that event continue in Skin Tight.
Mick spends his days with a little fishing and a little lazing in the sun in his stilt house built over the water. That idyllic existence is disturbed when someone sends a hit man to take him out. Being totally unprepared, Mick defends himself as best he can (in a way you'll never forget). Soon another hit man is on his way who presents a different challenge. Dead bodies are soon piling up on the beaches in south Florida, and his friends in police work keep asking him what he knows. Actually, he doesn't know very much at first. Gradually, he finds out that he's been set up to take a fall by a crooked witness in an investigation he ran four years earlier into the disappearance of a young woman after her plastic surgery.
Before he's done, Mick finds out who's after him . . . and closes up that old wound. In the process, there's more comic mayhem than you can imagine. You will probably find Chemo to be one of the best comic villains since "Jaws" in the James Bond movies.
If you dislike phonies, you will find several to dislike in the story . . . and each will get their comeuppance in deliciously appropriate ways.
If you enjoy Mick, be sure to read Skinny Dip as well.
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on 27 September 2005
Skin Tight continues the tale of Mick Stranaham, an investigator who wants to left alone to enjoy his life. He has gone so far to achieve this goal as to move out to a deserted house on stilts out at sea. However, his plans fail when he is surprised one day by a Mafia hit man sent to kill him for no reason he can determine. 'Skin Tight' follows Mick as he uncovers what is going on and finds himself embroiled in another slick adventure this time in the world of Florida Plastic Surgery.
This is the first adult Hiaasen book that I have read and I really enjoyed it. The characters where well developed and the bad guys really came to life throughout. A criticism would be that it was almost too violent with every character potentially a victim meaning - that it felt far fetched.
I really enjoyed this title and will be looking out to read more in the series.
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This intro to the book's unconventional "hero," Mick Stranahan, is just the tip of the iceberg as way-out characters go. Stranahan, formerly with the Florida State Attorney's office, now "retired" at their request, lives in Biscayne Bay in Stiltsville, where he is the only full-time resident. When a hit-man invades his home for reasons unknown, Mick kills him with the only "weapon" at hand--a stuffed marlin head--then drops him back into the bay.

Before long, Mick--and the reader--are up to their eyeballs in craziness. The case of a young woman who disappeared four years ago after undergoing a nose job may be at the center of this wild plot. Her plastic surgeon, Dr. Rudy Graveline, manages to have Hollywood actresses beating a path to his door, but is apparently a complete fraud who has not performed real surgery in years. Reynaldo Flemm, a Geraldo Rivera clone, is doing an investigation of the surgeon, and he has interviewed his former nurse, thereby endangering her life. As Mick becomes involved in all these crazy plots, he is pursued by a second mob hitman, this one seven feet tall, with a skin problem and a face that even major surgery cannot fix.

As the violence and the body count rise, author Carl Hiaasen keeps the absurdities coming, and his satire of Florida, the entertainment industry, the plastic surgery "industry," and even the New Jersey mob never flags. Laugh-out-loud funny, this 1989 novel captures universal "truths," and is still as irreverent and as timely as it was when it was written. n Mary Whipple

The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport (Random House Large Print (Cloth/Paper))
Nature Girl
Skinny Dip
Native Tongue
Paradise Screwed: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen
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on 8 August 2010
This book (1989) is a very entertaining thriller. A lot happens, and some things are quite awful, but the general tone in the book is one of gaiety.

Mick Stranahan is an ex-detective who live in a house along Biscayne Bay. It can only be reached by boat so he can hear visitors approaching from several miles distance. When a stranger pays him a visit and tries to kill him, Mick returns the favor and dumps the body in the sea a few miles from his house.

Mick's priority is now to find out who is behind the assassination attempt. Soon it becomes clear it is a highly successful, wealthy plastic surgeon. Around the same time, Mick notices he is watched by a television crew who are in the process of putting together a program about a woman who went missing four years ago. At the time, Mick was one of the police detectives on the case.

A hilarious cast of very different people, misunderstandings and treason, all sum up to a fun, entertaining story. There is some "thrill" in this thriller, but it's all quite light-hearted just the same. To me, it's like watching an episode of Miami Vice. But then a very long one.
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The first thing to mention about Carl Hiaasen's 'Skin Tight' is that it is now almost a period piece. Written back in the 1980's the references to video tapes and car phones, along with the fact that Miami Vice is still on TV and Jack Klugman (Quincy M.D.) is still making shows, place Skin Tight firmly in a different era. That fact doesn't necessarily detract from the book's appeal, but if you're looking for a bang up to date tale or you've only read Hiaasen's more recent novels you might find it slightly off-putting.

If however, you can get past the 80's vibe (the same one I get when I watch movies like Beverly Hills Cop or Ferris Bueller's Day Off) then Skin Tight is another amusing tale of murder, corruption and revenge in South Florida from a master of the sub-genre. As with all Hiassen's novels it features a large cast of highly colourful and in some cases grotesque characters, all of whom meet the ends they deserve. The book's epilogue is an entirely emotionally satisfying affair.

The only thing that the book lacks compared to Hiaasen's bona-fide classics is a really tight plot. It starts well enough, with the attempted murder of a retired criminal investigator due to a series of misunderstandings, and for the first two thirds is a fanatastically entertaining tale full of twists and turns as we're introduced to the various players involved in the story. Unfortunately the pace and quality isn't maintained into the final third of the book, with Hiassen stretching things out too far. If he'd shaved one hundred pages off the story and dumped at least one subplot (the corrupt cops, although entertaining, could have been ditched without any loss) the whole book would have felt far tighter, the rapid pace would have been maintained right up to the denoument and I wouldn't have found myself tempted to skip ahead towards the end. Compared to some of Hiaasen's later efforts the plot of Skin Tight feels bloated and self-indulgent at times, with too many characters who, though colourful, contribute little and crowd out the central plot.

This flabbiness and a final reckoning that is a bit of a damp squib after such a lengthy set-up mean that Skin Tight isn't a classic Hiaasen novel. It is however, enjoyable and I would recommend it to fans of the author and anyone who likes blackly comic tales involving murder, plastic surgery, tabloid journalism and political corruption.
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on 25 December 2006
Definitely one of his best! Attractive anti-hero in the lead (let's forget the five failed marriages) and some of the world's least desirable scum get their come-uppance with fast-moving and violent action, all played out against the beauty of the natural Florida wilderness. All Hiaasen's favourite themes and targets in a cracking, page-turning read. Very funny.
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on 2 December 2007
Of the two Hiaasen books I've read so far, I rate this a slight notch below Stormy Weather. This book is still very funny and highly entertaining, but Stormy Weather brings the level of wackiness to even more extreme heights. For some reason, the character I found most memorable here is Chemo, the guy with the messed up face and somewhat of a penchant for violence. Mick Stranahan, as a man's man, is also a cool cat. The plastic surgery theme of the book is an appropriate backdrop for the wackiness and corruptive aspects of the story. Overall, a highly entertaining read. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health.
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on 26 May 2003
I really enjoyed this book, its a kind of Stephanie Plum for blokes!!! The main theme is rich-plastic-surgeon-ineptly-tries-to-kill-hero. The characters are all great and there are some excellent unexpected twists. Mick Stranahan is a bit more streetwise than Stephanie Plum but there are some great farcical moments. I am planning on reading more of his books VERY soon!!!
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on 14 August 2014
Having read Bad Monkey which is far superior, I started on his back catalogue. Unfortunately this only gets 3 stars, his style is not as assured and well developed and the pacing needs to be more evenly spread. It really drags for the first 200 pages and then there is a race in the last 50 to tie up lose ends. The humour is not as frequent as well. Plus the lead character Mick needed more development, not as likeable as Andrew Yancy of Bad Monkey. Am going on to Stormy Weather next.
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