Saturday, June 15, 2013

“Bad Monkey” by Carl Hiaasen – An Eccentric Murder

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen - boook cover
Tropical climates and beachside paradises have always been favorite locations of Carl Hiaasen, and so it shouldn't come as a surprise that his latest chef-d’oeuvre, Bad Monkey is set in Florida and the Bahamas. As is typical with Carl Hiaasen, the story emanates of ridiculousness at an alarming rate, and I’ll try not to spoil it too much for you (pretty much anything you learn about the book could qualify as a spoiler, but more on that later). Basically, we are presented with Andrew Yancy, an ex-Miami cop who is forced to work as a health inspector because of a scandal involving a vacuum cleaner. Also, he has a frozen arm in his freezer, with its middle finger extended. Yancy is downright determined to get down to the truth of the matter and regain his status as a Miami police officer, but the road is paved by a number of eccentric obstacles, including the titular bad monkey.

Those afore-mentioned eccentric obstacles come in the form of characters, and you can bet the house there are no "normal" people to be found here. The many people Yancy will have to plough his way through include a twitchy widow, his ex-lover, a fugitive from Kansas, a Voodoo witch, a kinky coroner, and many others. Despite first impressions, each of the characters serves an important purpose in advancing the story, even the monkey (some people will argue "especially the monkey"). I want to say more, but I feel like telling you how the characters interact with each other and how Yancy deals with them would spoil the plot for you.

To be frank, it is a bit hard to classify this book into one specific genre (though Amazon did a good job listing it under "Literature & Fiction"), so I’d say it’s a detective mystery/hysterical comedy, just so you know what you are getting into. Practically every page in the book delivers a barrel of laughs, and what’s even more remarkable, Hiaasen manages to advance the story at a brisk pace while maintaining this style.

In other words, not only are you going to keep reading to see the resolution to the "arm in the freezer" mystery, but you’ll also do it for the omnipresent comedy. From the one-liners delivered by the characters to the satirical descriptions, Hiaasen did a wonderful job at coating the novel in humor. That’s why I said every detail about the book can be considered a spoiler; every bit of information has something special to offer to reader, whether in itself or in the method of delivery.

All in all, this is one of those novels where the less you know about it going in, the better, for you will be surprised on numerous occasions. If you have a sense of humor, then logic dictates that Bad Monkey will tickle all of your funny bones at the same time.


Carl Hiaasen (March 12, 1953)

Carl Hiaasen


Personal site

Carl Hiaasen is an American columnist, novelist and journalist who mostly writes in the domains of criminal fiction and thrillers, being known to concentrate on the topic of governmental corruption. Some of his more famous works include Double Whammy, Strip Tease (also made into a full-feature movie with Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds) and Basket Case.

More of the Carl Hiaasen's book reviews:
Skink – No Surrender

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