BAD MONKEY by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf), 317 page, $27.95 cloth. Rating: NNN
Carl Hiaasen's bad boy cop, Andrew Yancy, is in trouble again, this time for assaulting his girlfriend's husband. The incident is so bizarre, and has become so public, that it's caused the Monroe County sheriff's office to strip Yancy of his badge.
He badly wants it back - especially since he's been consigned to food inspector duties, which have completely destroyed his appetite. When he learns that a severed arm has turned up in the Florida Keys, he pursues the case despite his reduced status.
Soon he's on the tail of who he thinks are the killers and heads to the Bahamas, where he encounters greedy developers and the unfortunate people they're uprooting. Back home, the guy living next door in Florida is building a monstrosity of a mansion that messes with the environment and every building code that matters, and Yancy's doing all he can to thwart the sale.
Hiaasen, the king of character development, peoples Bad Monkey with an array of colourful figures, including Yancy's new love interest, who has some unusual sexual predilections; a nasty female voodoo practitioner; and Neville, one of the poor sods being uprooted from his long-time beachfront home, who owns the monkey of the title.
It's all very entertaining. Hiaasen knows how to crank out a story (there's a clever little twist about two-thirds of the way in) and writes very vividly, especially about his protagonist's many injuries, to say nothing of his sexual adventures.
The only problem is that Yancy is a bit of a douche. Fans won't care - I mean, maybe that's why they're fans - but anyone else might find it difficult to sympathize, even if they love the genre.
SUSAN G. COLE
Hiaasen discusses the book with Andrew Pyper at Harbourfront's Brigantine Room tonight (Thursday, June 13). See Readings.