Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen

Andrew Yancey is having a rough time. He is about to lose his job. It turns out that cavorting about with the wife of a rich and politically well doctor, then publicly assaulting the doctor in a fight is not the best way to keep your job in the Sheriff’s office. Even though he is about to by cashiered the Sheriff asks Yancey to do him a little favor. It seems that a human arm has turned up on the fishing line of a tourist. The Sheriff would like to pass the problem off to Miami. So he asks Yancey to take the arm up from the Keys to the city in the hopes that this case will go away. Miami doesn’t want the arm, the Sheriff doesn’t want the arm. Yancey thinks that there may be foul play. In the meantime Yancey is given a new job as a Health Inspector. Counting roaches and rat droppings is not why he went into law enforcement. So he keeps the arm in his freezer hoping to solve the crime and get reinstated.

This fun novel has a cast of zany characters and hilarious scenes. As Yancey tries to solve a crime that no one even thinks happened he is also waging a private war against a developer who is building a huge mansion next door to his home. He is getting to know a new girlfriend, a coroner, who has some interesting ideas about how to have a good time. He has an Oklahoma lawman asking questions about the married woman he was having an affair with. As if that wasn’t enough he also has to deal with a voodoo queen in the Bahamas who has a voracious appetite for men, a shady real estate deal, and a fisherman who just wants his land and his obnoxious pet monkey back.

While the characters are quite funny and even enjoyable at times they aren’t always very likable. After all the “hero” of our story is a cop who likes to get high and fool around with married women. The dialogue is fun and well written for the most part. The only real problem with the novel in the Bahamian patois. Writing in patois is difficult and reading it is even more difficult. I found it very hard to “hear” the dialect as I was reading. Perhaps that is just my own problem and others will find those passages easy to read. Don’t let this one quibble get in the way of reading the novel. I had a good time reading it and more than once attracted attention to myself by laughing out loud while I was reading it.

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