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Saturday, March 29, 2008


I’m traveling in Florida right now crossing swamps as we head from Orlando east to I95. I’ve just finished Carl Hiassen’s Skinny Dip. His outrage at the rape of Florida’s natural resources by developers—agricultural as well as housing is fresh in my mind. I can’t help turning a jaundiced eye at the number of developments along Rt. 46. But this is not a serious environmental book; it's a rollicking attempted murder mystery set on islands, cities, and Everglades of Florida. It's a good chuckle!

Skinny Dip is delightfully entertaining, slightly caustic, bitingly satirical, and a smile evoking read. It’s a great book to travel with, and you’ll smile through a lot of it!

Native Tongue, my first foray into Hiassen’s weird cast of unlikely, misfit, and misplaced characters, made me pick up Skinny Dip. I wanted a little fun with an Equalizer (remember that TV show?) ending. Skinny Dip answers that need.

Beautiful, rich, blonde, athletic Joey is upended over the rails of the Sun Princess by her husband who takes her on a second anniversary honeymoon cruise. Unfortunately for him, Joey, a college swimmer, knifes into the water and heads toward the still sparkling lights on the Florida shore—still a long distance away in waters rife with sharks, man ‘o wars, and all manner of dangers.

Sorry I can’t tell you any more about the plot, but take my word for it, Hiassen creates another unlikely bunch of characters acting in unusual ways to twist and turn the plot so you just keep guessing. You'll get a kick out of Joey and the people who surround her.

One of Hiassen’s literary devices is to introduce new and important characters throughout the book to help him tie up the loose ends. I can never quite be sure that I can foresee each frayed end neatly whipped. It’s part of the Carl Hiassen fun, and I highly recommend it even if you’re not visiting his home state of Florida.

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