Customer Reviews


238 Reviews
5 star:
 (99)
4 star:
 (72)
3 star:
 (40)
2 star:
 (13)
1 star:
 (14)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Wacky As Previous Efforts, But Fun Nonetheless
I have read Carl Hiaasen novels for over 10 years and do because I love the off-the-wall humor he brings to his novels. Previous efforts have reflected interesting uses of weed-wackers (in Skin Tight) and "The Club" (in Stormy Weather), not to mention the periodic exploits of a former Florida governor turned road kill conniseur (Skink). He is a terrific storyteller who...
Published on January 23, 2002 by K. Palmer

versus
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still better than his imitators...
I was absolutely delighted to get back from a week out of the country and see a new Hiassen on the bookshelves at the airport on my arrival. After discovering Tourist Season back in '86, I've pounced on every release since on the day it hit the stores and have always finished reading the same night or the night after.
So I was disturbingly surprised that Basket Case...
Published on January 16, 2002 by quincyrich


‹ Previous | 1 224 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Wacky As Previous Efforts, But Fun Nonetheless, January 23, 2002
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
I have read Carl Hiaasen novels for over 10 years and do because I love the off-the-wall humor he brings to his novels. Previous efforts have reflected interesting uses of weed-wackers (in Skin Tight) and "The Club" (in Stormy Weather), not to mention the periodic exploits of a former Florida governor turned road kill conniseur (Skink). He is a terrific storyteller who is passionate about the Florida environment as all of his previous novels had some type of "Save the Everglades" bent to them.
However, Hiaasen has taken a different turn with "Basket Case". First of all, this is his first novel written in the first person as he assumes the voice of Jack Tagger, former hotshot investigative newspaper reporter who has committed career suicide by publicly humiliating his boss and has been relegated to writing obituaries. Tagger is obsessed with the ages of people when they die and judges his life based on the famous people who died at his current age, which drives the people who care for him crazy. Tagger gets the chance to investigate the death of Jimmy Stoma, a washed-up rock star who was attempting to make a comeback at the time of his demise. You get to meet his wacky widow as well as several folks who help him in his quest. Hiaasen handles the limitations of the first person narrative pretty well, primarily through crisp use of dialog. It's a nice first effort for this style, although he can open himself more by staying in the third person as he has done previously.
I also credit Hiaasen for staying away from the environmental issues in this novel. I have stated in previous reviews of the recent Hiaasen novels that this subplot, present in all his novels in some form, was getting old, a sentiment agreed with by many other faithful readers. I think it's great that he has the forum of a novel to get his anger with the over-development of South Florida out, but it was time for a break. It's not his best work (Native Tongue and Stormy Weather are his best in my opinion), but Basket Case is just plain fun without a lot of messages being sent.
I look forward to the next novel, which if form holds, will bring back Skink. But I enjoyed this one nonetheless. You will too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obit Worthy., January 4, 2002
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
Like many Nelson DeMille novels, Carl Hiaasen writes his "Basket Case" from the first person viewpoint. And like many of DeMille's protagonists, obit writer Jack Tagger tells us the story with a smart-assed dialogue.
Dead is James Bradley Stomarti, also know as, Jimmy Stoma. You know. The Jimmy Stoma, lead singer in his band, Jimmy and the Slut Puppies. The Slut Puppies were famous for the hit single "Basket Case" from the "Floating Hospice" album. That Jimmy Stoma. Anyway, to bring you up to date, he died.
It seems that Jimmy was a regular rocker too. Like many of his peers he was into alcohol, drugs, and had a rap sheet longer than his Fender guitar. He'd been arrested on a regular basis for such things as; indecent exposure, (he was caught wearing a rubber Pat Robinson mask and a day-glow condom), he crashed his SeaDoo in to the SS Norway, gets popped for whizzing on Englebert Humperdink's limo, got busted for stealing a bundt cake, you name it. All in all, this makes for a very interesting and "obit worthy" character. According to Jack Tagger, anyway.
Jimmy's death may not have been an accident, and so the mystery begins. Jack, the obit writer, has his suspicions. While Jack's editor, Emma, has the "hots" for Jack. This is where the sexual tension weaves its way into the storyline.
I mention Emma because Carl Hiaasen is a master of great dialogue and great characterization. Taggar describes Emma: "Emma has the bearing of an exotic falcon." Those eight words told me everything that I needed to know about Emma.
This one is five stars and highly recommended. I know you will enjoy "Basket Case" as much as I did. Cammy Diaz, lawyer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another hit for Hiaasen, January 5, 2002
By 
brian warden (Des Moines, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
Once I picked up this book (after buying it the day it came out) I could not put it down. The plot is typical Hiaasen -fast paced, lots of twists, plenty of shady (and funny) characters. But the book is actually different than previous Hiaasen books in two respects: First, it is written from a first person, narrative, perspective, unlike all of his previous 8 novels. Secondly, it is a little more serious, and a little less twisted, than previous books. It has a more realistic feel (with the exception of a hilarious scene involving a frozen lizard); there aren't any dead animals hanging off characters arms (Double Whammy, Lucky You); or weed whackers (Skin Tight).
There are lots of rock-n-roll references which I found entertaing, and the main character-obituary writer Jack Tagger-is a likable, flawed individual, that is easy to root for. Overall, I'd definetly recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Muckraking, romance and murder, May 6, 2002
By 
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
Carl Hiaasen turns his sharp eye on bottom-line journalism in this first-person novel of a former hot-shot reporter brought low by his own big, truth-telling mouth. When his medium-sized South Florida daily is bought out by a news-slashing, profit raking chain, Jack Tagger's ire, expressed at a stock holder's meeting, earns him a permanent spot on the obituary desk.
But I get ahead of myself. Hiaasen introduces his murder subject on the very first page - James Stomarti - aka Jimmy Stoma of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dead in a diving accident at age 39, seven years younger than Tagger. "It's an occupational hazard for obituary writers - memorizing the ages at which famous people have expired, and compulsively employing such trivia to track the arc of one's own life."
Seeing a winding path to the front page, Tagger stealthily begins to probe, interviewing Stoma's young, ambitious widow, a singer cruising the latest trend and looking for her second hit, Jimmy's sister, an internet stripper, and the surviving Slut Puppies. But when the Slut Puppies begin to die and Jimmy's sister vanishes, even his slime-ball publisher and fretful young editor can't derail Tagger's investigation.
Though more of a straight mystery than previous blackly madcap outings ("Sick Puppy," "Strip Tease") and not all that mysterious, "Basket Case," fueled by a highly likeable narrator, includes a few hilariously zany touches like assault by frozen lizard, and features a romance worthy of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Morosely sardonic and self-deprecating and obsessed with death, Jack Tagger infuses the story with humor while working his way towards a particularly satisfying revenge.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still better than his imitators..., January 16, 2002
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
I was absolutely delighted to get back from a week out of the country and see a new Hiassen on the bookshelves at the airport on my arrival. After discovering Tourist Season back in '86, I've pounced on every release since on the day it hit the stores and have always finished reading the same night or the night after.
So I was disturbingly surprised that Basket Case took me four days. Don't get me wrong, the book has its moments and I was laughing out loud by page 10. But unlike the others, which I couldn't put down, this time I didn't get hooked until Tagger's interview with Mac, which was about halfway through -- and giving credit where it's due -- a plot twist that is among Hiassen's best.
Still, I feel CH was hitting me over the head about the sorry state of newspaper journalism so much so that I was beginning to feel like I got slammed with a frozen monitor in the eye. And although I never expect CH's character interactions to make perfect sense, the romance between Tagger and Emma seemed a bit too convenient.
All the same, I'm happy to have read it and add to my other eight. And it's still light years ahead of anything put out by his imitators ("If you like Hiassen, you'll love X"). However, I wouldn't rate it his best (Double Whammy/Stormy Weather).
Rich
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only In Florida, January 21, 2002
By 
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
Carl Hiaasen is a nut. He has an off-the-wall, how-does-he-think-of-that sense of humor that is often rather black. For example, Jack Tagger, the forty six year old hero of Hiaasen's latest "Basket Case", defends himself from a nightime house break-in by pulling a giant lizard out of the freezer and belting one of his attackers across the face, putting out his eye. Sick? Maybe, but--in context--hilarious.
Jack is a down-on-his-luck journalist relegated to the Siberia of obituary writing for having verbally accosted his newspaper's new owner in a shareholder's meeting. The owner, intent on a 25% yearly return on his investment, has cut back on reporting staff and is milking the paper. While churning out obituaries, Jack has lost lady friends due to his constant fixation on celebrities who have died at his current age. Down on his luck, Jack siezes one last opportunity to return to the front page when he stumbles on the probable murder of faded rock star Jimmy Stoma formerly of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies.
The mystery is pretty obvious, but the sly dissection of modern America typified by Florida with its environmental depradations, overwhelmingly bad taste and capitalistic pusuit of the dollar is scathinly brilliant. It is a thirty or more years from John MacDonald's Travis McGee to Carl Hiaasen's "Basket Case", but their readability and their insight into modern culture are very much the same. This is an excellent, and instructive, read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiaasen Rocks and Rolls In This One!, February 21, 2002
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
Carl Hiaasen's latest comedy crime novel introduces Jack Tagger; a former star investigative reporter banished to obit writer thanks to a slight confrontation with the paper's CEO at the stockholders' meeting of the giant newspaper conglomerate. Jack is sure that he can get back on the front page with the help of an obituary of some "famous stiff." And when former rocker Jimmy Stoma of Jimmy and Slut Puppies dies in a questionable skin-diving accident he thinks he might have his story. Especially when it looks like someone is trying to kill the remaining Slut Puppies.
Hiaasen abandons his usual environmental pulpit as a subplot in this novel in order to take on the plight of newspapers that are being emasculated by profit hungry publishing conglomerates. Actually, this is a welcome change, and the issue actually plays an important part in the novel's plot. (I also was able to identify with these issues.)
The characters are all well defined with the villains, while still being totally vile, vicious, and evil, this time coming across more as characters and less as caricatures. Because of (and not in spite of) his many quirks, you have to like Jack Tagger and his quest for his front page near impossible dream. By the way, along the way he finds love in the most unlikely of places.
Hiaasen is back in top form with this one, and I recommend it highly!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Novel Approach to a Hiaasen Story, August 26, 2004
By 
C. T. Mikesell (near Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Basket Case (Mass Market Paperback)
Pardon the pun in this review's title, but this story is unlike anything Hiaasen has done before. Instead of tackling the mistreatment of the Everglades or other gem of the Floridian ecosystem, the author looks at another diminishing national treasure: the daily newspaper. While this subject is certainly near and dear to his heart (and it's likely most people who invest their leisure time reading will concur), it's just not as much fun as what he's done in the past. For one thing, Hiaasen is unable to develop the kind of bizarre characters that are the hallmark of his writing - death-obsessed obituarists, editors who can't write, profit-grabbing publishers can't hold a match to roadkill-eating ex-governors. For another thing it places too many constraints on his hero - while Jack Taggart doesn't completely follow journalistic ethics (not an oxymoron for Hiaasen), his hands are tied several times in how far-out he can get in breaking his story. Hiaasen also falters a few times in staging the story: The fight scene involving a freezer-preserved monitor lizard, for instance, should have been a highlignt of the book; instead it takes place in the dark, robbing it of a lot of its potential zing.

For all that though, the story is still well constructed, the characters engaging and the writing fresh and witty. The main story line, dealing with an investigation into the death of ex-rocker James "Jimmy Stoma" Stomarti, is handled well. The subplots dealing with Taggart's love interest and screwing over his publisher are presented less believably - they're enjoyable, but riddled with implausibilities and plot holes. Taggart is a likeable guy; I found his Rainman-like ability to tell you who died at a given age amusing. He's determined and resourceful - and apparently one heck of a lover. His fellow crusaders for justice, Emma (his editor) and Janet (sister of the deceased) have their quirks, but do a good job helping Taggart at crucial moments. The villains are a bit subdued for a Hiaasen book, likely due to the story's sole first-person POV - because they behave themselves in front of Taggart, we can't fully appreciate them for the wackos they undoubtedly are.

If your friends have been pushing you to read Hiaasen, this book may not give a proper representation of "his kind" of story. On the other hand, if you're just looking for an enjoyable mystery to take you from one airport to the next, Basket Case will do that, and do it well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Book I Would Love To See As A Movie, January 27, 2002
This review is from: Basket Case (Hardcover)
This is only the second time I have read and enjoyed a Carl Hiaasen novel. The last book I read brought to mind a Quentin Tarrentino Floridian Pulp Fiction. This book is an even better candidate as the entire storyline is populated by a uniform group of players that all rate at various levels of strange. Mr. Hiaasen has been writing for a newspaper for 25 years, so with a writer for a newspaper as a protagonist, credibility is not an issue.
Our outspoken hero has been demoted to writing only obituaries as the result of a candid stream of comments about the new owners of the daily he works for, when he spoke at a shareholders meeting. The new owner's first name is Race, and our reporter wonders out loud while speaking with him if he was called Master Race as a child. The death of a lead singer in a band, so named as to not be printable here, dies while scuba diving, a readily accepted accident that leads to a torrent of events that starts reading more like an espionage thriller. Hovering in the background is a side story of revenge that is almost as sweet as the type once written by Alexander Dumas.
Clio Rio is the wife of the deceased. Conjure how a Clio Rio with zero talent would appear in your mind, and then imagine her crafted by a writer of Carl Hiaasen's talent, and you are at the beginning of outrageous characterizations. Her producer is, I promise I am not kidding, a male who has waist length hair and has named himself after a shampoo. The result is Clio Rio with her producer Loreal. Sounds absurd, well it normally would be, but Carl Hiaasen is an extremely talented writer with a wit that often borders on angry. Our intrepid hero also makes a personal security guard of Clio's into a patched-eyed pirate. His weapon is a frozen lizard that until called to do battle as a not so blunt instrument had been residing in the freezer.
If you have not read this man's work he is certainly worthy of you reading time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously funny, October 10, 2005
By 
M. Humes (Kernersville, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Basket Case (Paperback)
This is the fourth Hiaasen book I've read and it's my favorite yet. It also tops the list for my wife. The obsessive compulsive focus on headlines and age of death add a nice touch, and the insider perspective on the newspaper business blended with a great narrative about the sleazier side of the music biz made this a wonderful read.

I had to look up Hiaasen after this to find more and wasn't surprised to find he does work at a Florida newspaper and has done investigative work. It didn't surprise me much to find that he works with and is a friend of Dave Barry. In his own way I think he's funnier and also covering more serious moral ground.

I'm a big fan of Elmore Leonard and the comparison between him and Hiassen is sometimes obvious but Hiassen does a much better job of character background with obscure trivia and is a lot funnier. What I think I like the most is his dark humor.

I've seen references to Hiaasen's comedic timing as the key to his work and I'd have to agree. He leaves you hanging at just the right point then comes back around to sew up loose threads with a zing much the way an episode of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm does.

I'm noticing a lot of redundant themes in his books (Florida developers, eco saviours, blundering crooks, newspaper guys who are more like cops than the cops are) but so far they remain fresh from book to book with little details and distinct plot lines and arcs that make Hiaasen my favorite author.

There's clearly an auto-biographical element in many of these books, and this one in particular seems likely to draw on that. His web site notes that "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." Apparently a lot of the inspiration for his works come from real life stories in the Florida news. I'm ready to order one of his books of his old news columns to get a better sense of that side of him too.

Jimmy Buffett has picked up options for film rights on one book and Mike Nichols is working on another. I'm hoping this one gets picked up and makes it to the screen someday. Somebody send a copy of Basket Case to Quentin Tarantino, he could have a lot of fun with this one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 224 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Basket Case
Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen (Mass Market Paperback - January 1, 2003)
$7.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.