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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

NATIVE TONGUE--ROLLICKING FUN


Talk about a highly recommended author! June and Carol have been telling me about Carl Hiaasen’s ironic sense of humor for years, and finally I’ve read this thoroughly outrageous, original, and entertaining author. I picked up Native Tongue at our library’s book sale. I bought another novel by him as well, and I will get to it asap (but my list is sooooooo long already). In the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vt., I noticed that he has edited 2007's The Best American Mystery Stories. I bet they’re pips!

Native Tongue is one heck of a crime novel! Our detective, Joe Winder, is a burned out former cop born and raised in Florida who gets pulled kicking and screaming into trying to solve the mystery of the missing last-of-their-species mango voles from a wildlife park whose owner wants to out-Disney Disney. What happens to him as he meets aged, rich environmentalists, New York crime figures, swamp-inhabiting hermits, several hot women, and two of the most unusual crooks one can imagine kept me wanting to find the time to keep reading.

I admit that at first I thought I was reading a silly, nonsensical tale, but then I got hooked by Hiaasen’s bait just as Joe hooks fish at his favorite, soon to be demolished, spot in Florida. Hiassen is happily a Floridian, and he is apparently against the uncontrolled growth that ruined much of what makes Florida unique, but he is not a lecturer, and while the message is clear, it is also painlessly administered.

Haissen is a masterful story teller, and I was never sure what was coming next—murder, theft, sabotage, or fun. Native Tongue is exactly the kind of book you’d like to take along on a vacation. It’s a great read, not at all taxing. The only thing you have to be careful about is drawing attention to yourself as you laugh out loud!

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