Tag Archives: Carl Hiaasen

Review of ‘Razor Girl’ by Carl Hiaasen

cover95582-mediumThanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown for the ARC of this book.

I’ve enjoyed reading Carl Hiaasen’s books in the past, they are usually light, easy, fast-paced reads. However, this book was not my cup of tea. The plot was wafer-thin and I really didn’t care for any of the characters.

The book is about Andrew Yancy, a former policeman trying to find a missing reality TV show star in the Florida Keys. The ‘Razor Girl’ of the title is a petty criminal who Yancy hooks up with. A woman called Merry who crashes in the peoples’ cars while pretending to shave her bikini line (seriously!) in order to kidnap people to order.

There’s a fatal flaw with this book; the plot could have been resolved very quickly if Yancy would simply call the police when he encounters the main suspect in the crime. He comes across him several times and never calls the police because he is trying to solve the crime himself in order to try to get reinstated as a policeman rather than a health inspector. How he plans to do this without getting the police involved is beyond me and he just keeps putting himself and others in danger. It is stupid and illogical and just serves to draw out a non-existent storyline. It also means there’s no tantalising whodunnit as we pretty much know all along who the perpetrator of the crime is.

Other issues include pointless sub-plots. There is one about a man who makes money reinstating beaches and gets entangled with the mafia. All the plots tie together, but this storyline felt like unnecessary padding for me.

Another problem I had was the surplus of unrealistic one-dimensional, over-sexed female characters. All the women in the book are willing to sleep with any man for the slightest favour, and either criminals or money-grabbing sluts without decent occupation. There’s not one intelligent, moral, upstanding, realistic female character. It infuriated me. You can entirely tell the book is written by a man, as the women are only valued as objects of sexual desire and they all act like they’ve sprung from a 15-year-old boy’s sexual fantasy.

I know this is supposed to be a light-hearted piece of fluff but it was just too stupid for me with too many ridiculous coincidences and a really uninspired plot.

Review of ‘Bad Monkey’ by Carl Hiaasen

Bad Monkey coverThanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown for the ARC of this book.

I’ve enjoyed reading Carl Hiaasen in the past, his writing is fast-paced, irreverent and very easy to read.

‘Bad Monkey’ follows Andrew Yancy a policeman who, after assaulting his girlfriend’s husband, is demoted to restaurant inspector. When a severed arm turns up on a fishing boat he resolves to solve the case in order to try to get reinstated as a policeman.

As with Hiaasen’s other writing this is a humourous lightweight crime caper.  It’s easy to read and gets into the story quickly. I enjoyed the first third of the book but then I felt the plot started to meander a bit and lost its original fast pace. I got a bit bored in the middle of the book and I could have put it down and forgotten all about it without wondering what happened to any of the characters. However, the pace picks up again in the final third of the book, with the arrival of a hurricane in the Bahamas.

The book is set mostly in Florida with occasional jaunts down to the Bahamas. I found the Bahamian vernacular really hard to read. For example, Hiaasen uses ‘dot’ rather than ‘that’ and I spent the first few minutes of each conversation in the Bahamas trying to figure out who Dot was. I don’t think it’s necessary to write the dialogue in this way.

The sections in the Bahamas are filled with really bad cliches; including a voodoo witch and the eponymous ‘bad monkey’. I didn’t think these characters were really necessary or added anything to the plot. Using these ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ inspired ideas seemed a bit lazy.

The crime story is also not very original or exciting. The twist about what really happened to the arm which Yancy is investigating, is very obvious and predictable, (spoiler: why else would there be so much emphasis on the poncho?); so I was glad that the reveal came after two thirds of the book and it wasn’t saved to be the big final plot twist.

The most interesting and amusing plot line is actually unrelated to the central crime plot. It revolves around Yancy’s attempts to scupper the sale and completion of a monstrous house on the plot next door to his own house.

I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for a light, funny crime caper. I think it would particularly appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.