At the heart of many of Hiaasen's sharply satirical crime novels lies a concern for the environment of Florida, the US state in which most of his books are set. Fortunately, it takes a lot of digging through outlandish plots, filled with black humour, to find any preaching. Hiaasen specialises in quirky heroes and heroines: a juggler who uses human skulls for his act (Stormy Weather); a former FBI secretary stripping to finance a custody battle (Striptease).
And the villians are nothing less than bizzarre. How else to describe a bouncer with a "weed-whacker" for a hand (Skintight), or a burglar conversing with the head of a dead dog attached to his arm (Doulbe Whammy)? Should all of this sound far-fetched, Hiaasen's skill as a writer ensures that his characters are real and appealing.
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