Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on 27 April 2012
I stopped reading Hiaasen a few years ago when I became a bit bored with the style, which I felt was becoming a bit hackneyed. What do you call his books? Novels? Thrillers? Crime capers? Piss takes? He seemed to be a bit like what Elmore Leonard would have become if he'd chosen the career of a stand-up comedian. Unfortunately, a failed one. Hiassen was always slightly amusing, but seldom laugh out loud funny.
A recent holiday in Florida brought me back to this novel, and it was a welcome return despite the fact that my opinions, if anything, have been cemented. I'm enjoying the book, but "crime caper" seems to me to be the best way I can describe it. It's not hilarious, not hard-boiled and, if anything, is a lighthearted pass-time (if a story of murder, deceit, and blackmail can be lighthearted, of course!) I like to think that Hiaasen writes for his own amusement and the fact that some of us join in is a nice bonus for him. He has a "real" career as a journalist with the Miami Herald anyway.
To the book. Plot straightforward, characters mostly likeable, setting appealing from a rainy London point of view. It was about a hundred pages too long, and I found myself voicing an oft repeated plea of "Get on with it!". Otherwise I might have given four stars for the review. The book did enough to make me think I will go back to Carl Hiassen in future, especially when I'm pining for the sunshine of Miami and the Keys, and I'm pleased about that. In these Kindle days, with about fifty unread books clamouring for possibly undeserved attention, it's good to have standby authors you can rely on.