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Date Posted: 16:59:56 11/05/04 Fri
Author: Syl
Subject: Skinny Dip

TITLE: Skinny Dip

AUTHOR: Carl Haaisen

GENRE: Fiction


This review is on the wonderful new book by Carl Hiassen, Skinny Dip.
For those not familiar with Hiaasen, he is a well known investigative reporter and columnist for the
Miami Herald who writes hysterically funny novels where the villains who despoil Florida's
natural wonders meet horrible and righteous ends in hysterically funny ways. Although the books are not a series, they just share a common theme, two characters wind through most of them, "Skink", a.k.a.
"Captain," the former Florida governor Clinton Tyree and his self-appointed keeper, Florida
State Trooper Jim Tile.

Governor Tyree went quietly mad and left office, disappearing into the
swamps when he realised he could never defeat big business and its rape of Florida. In his own
lunatic way he does what he can, hooking up with characters from time to time and acting as a wonderfully improbable deus ex machina to help them assist the villains to their horrible and righteous
ends. Jim Tile, Skink's former bodyguard and sole friend and confidant, is the only person who ever
knows where the Governor is and who does his best to keep him safe from harm and discovery.

In Skinny Dip we meet millionairess Joey Perrone and her husband, marine biologist Chaz, taking
a second anniversary Caribbean cruise on the Sun Duchess. Their marriage isn't the greatest, but it
isn't the worst, either. They still like each other, so Joey thinks, and the sex is great. Everything
seems AOK until Chaz pitches Joey headfirst over an upper deck and into the ocean on the last starry
night of the journey.

Mick Stranahan, fifty-ish retired State Attorney's Office investigator and six times divorced, plucks Joey from the sea, where she has been clinging for life to a bale of Jamaican weed. For Hiaasen afficionados, we first met Mick fifteen years ago in Skin Tight. (In Skin Tight, Mick's tame barracuda took the lower arm off of a villain named Chemo, who then replaced the appendage with a weed whacker. I am not making this up.) These days, the reclusive Mick is island sitting for a globetrotting millionaire. As Joey has absolutely no clue why Chaz tried to kill her, (Chaz is bound by an ironclad prenup and is not mentioned in her will) Joey decides to play "dead" and she and Mick join forces to discover the reason.

A parallel search for reasons is entertained by Broward County Detective Karl Rolvaag, who is
somewhat distracted by the mystery of his missing albino boa constrictors (possibly devouring all
the small quadrupeds in his condo complex) and his impending move home to Minnesota. Impeding
the search are Chaz, of course, and his corpulent good-buddy boss Red Hammernut and Red's very
large and very hairy henchman Earl Edward O' Toole, a.k.a. Tool (made testy by the bullet stuck in
the crack of his bum).

Does the fact that Red owns a huge vegetable farm carved out of the 'glades
and that Chaz does runoff testing for phosphate levels figure into the mystery?

What does it mean that cattails are growing rampant wherever there is runoff from Red's farm? Hmmmm?

Why does Skink wear a bathing cap and braid his beard?

Why does Tool collect those crosses from the edge of the highway wherever there has been a fatal accident?

And just why the heck doesn't Tool have that bullet taken out of his bum?

Hovering at the edges of the action are Joey's brother Corbett Wheeler, a New Zealand sheepherder;
Ricca, Chaz's former hairdresser and lover; Maureen, an octogenarian nursing home inmate who
touches Tool's heart; Nellie Shulman and Petunia, Karl Rolvaag's excitable neighbor and her manic
little dog; and of course, Skink, a.k.a. Captain.

The action winds up in a very satisfactory manner, everyone who should
be happy is delightfully so and everyone who should be unhappy is really, really unhappy. If only
those who so ruthlessly destroy natural habitats in real life could meet their ends in such an
enjoyable manner. Enjoyable to us, at least!

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Replies:

[> A fellow Dave Barry fan!!! ("I'm not making this up!") As long as we have Carl Hiassen, we may somehow survive Dave Barry's coming sabbatical. That Carl is one "Sick Puppy"! (Another great Hiasson book.) Now, who knows how to pronounce his last name? Not me! -- JulieQ, 21:07:50 11/05/04 Fri


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[> Thanks Becca, you've made my DH's day. He loves Carl Hiassin books, I read Sick Puppy, but it wasn't for me. He keeps nagging me to read another one. -- Margy, 09:26:10 11/06/04 Sat


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[> [> Margy, IMHO if you didn't like Sick Puppy you should probably stay away from Lucky You also, but you would probably enjoy any of the other books. Sick Puppy was an odd one, very hard to get a handle on the protagonist. -- beccabee, 12:31:52 11/06/04 Sat


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[> [> [> Opps, it wasn't Sick Puppy I read, it was Tourist Season. -- Margy, 13:08:00 11/09/04 Tue


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[> *Just* read this for my book club!!!! It was fun, but I was disapointed in the ending. Not much to discuss about it, either---though I'm glad to know more about the swamp guy----I was kind of wondering...and I was told his last name is pronounced HIGH ah sin -- FloraMac, 11:01:11 11/06/04 Sat


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[> [> Skink is very Zen in this book FloraMac. Usually he and Jim Tile are a very dark, dark comedy team, but this time out you can tell the Governor is reaching the end of his patience and perhaps his time - - - dark to the point of being a black hole. I am wondering if in a future book he may meet his end and Jim Tile or a character yet unknown may take over his work. -- beccabee, 12:28:26 11/06/04 Sat


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[> He sounds like fun. With which book should I start? -- Pat, 01:44:36 11/09/04 Tue


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[> [> The books, in order of publication are Tourist Season, Double Whammy, Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case and Skinny Dip. My personal favorites are Skin Tight, Stormy Weather and Sick Puppy. Don't be put off by the excreble movie Strip Tease with Demi Moore, the book is quite good, in fact, it has one of the most hilariously horrifying endings I have ever read. It doesn't matter if you read them out of order, they don't build on one another and I have explained who Skink is, so he won't be a mystery to you. -- beccabee, 06:09:54 11/09/04 Tue


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[> Replaced his ARM with a weedwacker???? Now I have to read these books. Another series to get lost in, sounds like. Great review!! -- annieo, 05:53:19 11/09/04 Tue


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