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Bad Monkey Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 11, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Booklist reviews of recent Hiaasen novels (Nature Girl, 2006) have noted his step back from apocalyptic plots. That trend continues with a shambolic comic tale of garden-variety Florida crime: a wealthy Medicare fraudster appears to have died in a boating accident. The only evidence of death is his arm, which is reeled in by a hapless vacationer. Enter Andrew Yancy, once and future Monroe County detective. He thinks the fraudster was murdered by his wife, and if he can prove it, he can get his old job back and leave restaurant inspections behind. Think of Yancy as a Hiaasenian knight aberrant. He means well, but many of his problems are hilariously self-inflicted. His efforts take him from Key West to Miami to Andros Island, Bahamas, and back again. A huge cast of characters and a stunningly polyfurcated plot offer Hiaasen room to wow readers with information on grave robbery, restaurant-kitchen horrors, autoerotic asphyxiation, and even tips for beating Homeland Security’s radar to fly into South Florida. And there is also a delightful interlude of canoodling on the tuna tower of a Key West charter boat as well as no-holds-barred portraits of the Dragon Queen—a loopy, libidinous, old Bahamian “woo-doo” practitioner—and the titular Bad Monkey. Plot convolutions twice cause him to insert multipage explanations of what’s going on, but as always, Hiaasen is laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly entertaining. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hiaasen’s crime fiction crossed over to mainstream bestsellerdom early on in his career, and his fan base continues to grow. --Thomas Gaughan


Praise for Bad Monkey
“[A] comedic marvel . . . [Hiaasen] hasn’t written a novel this funny since Skinny Dip. . . . Beautifully constructed.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“[A] deliciously zany romp. Buckle up for the ride.”
Bad Monkey boils over with corruption and comeuppance. And yes, there’s a monkey.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
“[A] rollicking misadventure in the colorful annals of greed and corruption in South Florida. . . . Hiaasen has a peculiar genius for inventing grotesque creatures . . . that spring from the darkest impulses of the id. But he also writes great heroes.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
“This ‘Triple-F’—fierce, funny, and Floridian . . . enfolds corruption, greed, mayhem, and very funny social satire in the way that only Hiaasen does it.”
Reader’s Digest
“[Hiaasen is] one of America’s premier humorists.”
—Rege Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“No one writes about Florida with a more wicked sense of humor than Hiaasen.”
—Jocelyn McClurg, USA Today
“The gold standard for South Florida criminal farce.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Inspired . . . Another marvelously entertaining Hiaasen adventure.”
Publishers Weekly
“Hiaasen is laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly entertaining.”
—Thomas Gaughan, Booklist (starred)

Praise for the work of Carl Hiaasen
“Carl Hiaasen isn’t just Florida’s sharpest satirist—he’s one of the few funny writers left in the whole country . . . I think of him as a national treasure.”
—Malcolm Jones, Newsweek
“Does anyone remember what we did for fun before Hiaasen began turning out his satirical comedies?”
—Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle
“Hiaasen [is] a superb national satirist . . . A great American writer about the great American subjects of ambition, greed, vanity and disappointment.”
—Mark Harris, Entertainment Weekly
“Hiaasen’s wasteland is as retributive as Cormac McCarthy’s, but funnier. . . .  [His] pacing is impeccable, and the scenes follow one another like Lay’s potato chips.”
—John Leland, The New York Times Book Review
“Hiaasen [is] king of the screwball comedies . . . A truly original comic novelist . . . The charismatic, animated characters deliver lines that will bring tears of laughter to even the most jaundiced readers . . . This is top-notch storytelling by a truly original comic novelist.”
—Clayton Moore, Rocky Mountain News
“Carl Hiaasen is a lot like Evelyn Waugh. . . . Both simmer with rage; both are consumed with the same overwhelming vision . . . [both] write the funniest English of this century.”
—Carolyn See, The Washington Post
“Hiaasen [is] in the company of Preston Sturges, Woody Allen, and S. J. Perelman.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A big-hearted and deeply funny book . . . All of Carl Hiaasen’s obsessions are on full-tilt boogie.”
—Adam Woog, The Seattle Times
“Hiaasen, like Elmore Leonard, shouldn’t be missed. . . . Hiaasen throws his colorful characters into an increasingly frenetic mix, and the fun lies in watching how, or if, they’ll manage to extricate themselves.”
—David Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle
“Whenever it seems as if he might be running out of oxen to gore, Hiaasen comes up with fresh victims for his killing wit. [He is] Florida’s most entertainingly indignant social critic . . . Outlandish events soar on the exuberance of Hiaasen’s manic style, a canny blend of lunatic farce and savage satire.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“A whole lot ‘Survivor,’ a little bit ‘The Tempest,’ with a pinch of Laurel and Hardy . . . Hiaasen is always good for a number of laugh-aloud scenes and lines . . . His ear is pitch-perfect.”
—Alan Michael Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Hilarious . . . A lifelong resident of the Sunshine State, [Hiaasen’s] novels have always addressed the state’s ecological and social ills with scathing satire, ironic comeuppance and an ever-evolving sensibility.”
—Dan Lopez, Time Out New York

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307272591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307272591
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,463 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons.

A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper's weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published.

For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in many well-known magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and, most improbably, Gourmet.

In the early 1980s, Hiaasen began writing novels with his good friend and distinguished journalist, the late William D. Montalbano. Together they produced three mystery thrillers -- Powder Burn, Trap Line and Double Whammy -- which borrowed heavily from their own reporting experiences.

Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Hiaasen's first solo novel. GQ magazine called it "one of the 10 best destination reads of all time," although it failed to frighten a single tourist away from Florida, as Hiaasen had hoped it might. His next effort, Double Whammy, was the first (and possibly the only) novel about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Since then, Hiaasen has published nine others -- Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, The Downhill Lie and Nature Girl. Hiaasen made his children's book debut with Hoot (2002), which was awarded a Newbery Honor and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller lists. For young readers he went on to write the bestselling Flush (2005) and, most recently Scat (January 2009). The film version of Hoot was released in 2006, directed by Wil Shriner and produced by Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall. ("Hoot" is now available on DVD).

Hiaasen is also responsible for Team Rodent (1998), a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its creeping grip on the American entertainment culture. In 2008, Hiaasen came back to nonfiction with The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. The book chronicles his harrowing and ill-advised reacquaintance with golf after a peaceful, 32-year absence.

Together, Hiaasen's novels have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he is able to read or write. Still, he has reason to believe that all the foreign translations are brilliantly faithful to the original work. The London Observer has called him "America's finest satirical novelist," while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman. Hiaasen re-reads those particular reviews no more than eight or nine times a day.

To prove that he doesn't just make up all the sick stuff in his fiction, Hiaasen has also published two collections of his newspaper columns, Kick A** and Paradise Screwed, both courageously edited by Diane Stevenson and faithfully kept in print by the University Press of Florida.

One of Hiaasen's previous novels, Strip Tease, became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore, and directed by Andrew Bergman. Despite what some critics said, Hiaasen continues to insist that the scene featuring Burt Reynolds slathered from his neck to his toes with Vaseline is one of the high points in modern American cinema.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Carl Hiaasen is one of my favourites, and once again he doesn't disappoint. I feel almost at home now in South Florida - this seems to be the only proper place for Hiaasen's comedy thrillers. Strangely enough by the way: one of the few other ones I liked was set in Germany: A Suitcase Full Of Blood (Berlin Noir).

It's difficult to avoid spoilers here, but some have already been done in the description, like the human arm in Andrew Yancy's freezer. But it works as an appetizer, doesn't it? Yancy is not the ideal policeman, in fact when we meet him he is on 'roach patrol', i.e. restaurant inspector, because he is quite a difficult character - I'm not even sure if I liked him very much. He has to deal with a classic set of Hiaasen-style freaks like a voodoo princess, a coroner with interesting sexual ideas involving the autopsy table and of course the unholy monkey himself.

The writing is as hilarious as usual. Hiaasen is the master of stupid disaster - most of his characters are basically driven by their selfish inanity, and he manages to squeeze gallons of comedy out of it. Many writers lose their grip after a couple of years, but Hiaasen is still out there in his own special league.
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152 of 165 people found the following review helpful By John Williamson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most of us have our favorite authors. They have earned that particular place on out bookshelves as they have either enlightened or entertained us over time, and if we're lucky, a few of them have done both. But as new titles are released, one can only speculate as to whether it will be as good as the author's previous works.

Bad Monkey is the latest offering in a long line from author and journalist Carl Hiaasen, and speaking subjectively, this one does not disappoint. The familiar South Florida locations are there, and with some interesting alternative Caribbean localities added in as a slight change of pace. It's not easy to offer a good synopsis without dropping a few spoilers, as this book offers so much occurring in a typical Hiaasen fashion that will quickly be recognizable to readers of his previous tales.

Here we meet former detective Andrew Yancy, lately of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the primary law enforcement agency serving the Florida Keys. Those who have read the book blurbs in the description already know that he is in possession of a detached human arm in his freezer, but how it gets there is one of those things that helps build the story. Yancy has a dubious history in police work due to a past event where he had done something a bit out of bounds with a hand-held vacuum attachment to his former lover's husband, then posting a video of it on YouTube. As a result, he has been suspended, but is offered an enforcement position as a restaurant inspector... "roach patrol" as he terms it.

The settings and characters make this one classic Hiaasen.
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79 of 91 people found the following review helpful By C Thilmany TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's difficult to describe the synopsis without giving too much away because there is so much going on. You've got a Florida Keys detective, Andrew Yancy, who loses his job after an event that happened prior to the book, and to stay in "law enforcement" is set up with a job as a restaurant inspector. Yancy is also dealing with a former girlfriend and the oversized spec house built next door which is blocking his view of the sunset over the water.

But the mystery, which takes up the bulk of the story, begins with the snagging of an arm during a fishing event from a chartered boat. It's believed the poor guy drowned, but when things don't add up, Yancy hopes he can get his job back if he solves the crime that the police aren't yet aware of.

There are plenty of interwoven threads with a lot of interesting characters that come together really nicely; although I have to say that at one point it felt like there were too many characters to keep track of. Each thread and character is loaded with incredibly humorous situations either due to personal agendas or even outright stupidity. I'm new to this author and was surprised that not even the good guy is really a good guy.

So why am I not giving it 4 stars? While the bulk of the book was entertaining, I found the first 2/3 of it were also easy to set aside; and I did so a number of times. I was sucked in for the last 1/3 as more things came together.

But definitely an enjoyable story and a fun read.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Mccarthy VINE VOICE on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hiaasen gives Skink a well-deserved rest, while dragging the Bahamas into the firing line along with southern Florida in another bizarre romp. This time, we have a deputy who gets busted down to food inspector for a rather grievous and public indiscretion. Though officially off the force, the sheriff gives him custody of a human arm that a fisherman reeled in, and he's told to take it to Miami and convince the police there to keep it. They refuse, so he comes home and drops it into his freezer while pondering what to do with it. A woman shows up, claims it is her husband's last earthly remains, and takes it away for burial. And that's when things get strange.

Given that there's nothing conventional about Hiaasen's writing, "Bad Monkey" is even more outré than usual. He ramps up the sex, drugs, and profanity, so consider this inappropriate for young teens. It is more uneven than most of his books, with some things being repeated, and some slow stretches rudely interrupted by uproarious scenarios. It's not his best, but it's also not something you can safely read while riding the bus or sitting in an airplane terminal. If you haven't read this author before, start with one of his earlier books; if you're a fan, you'll almost certainly end up getting a copy.
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