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Naked Came the Manatee Paperback – January 20, 1998

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"The Lost Codex" by Alan Jacobson
Two ancient biblical documents reveal long-buried secrets that could change the world as we know it. The team's mission: find the stolen documents and capture—or kill—those responsible for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil. See more

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Editorial Reviews Review

Dave Barry starts the madness in Naked Came the Manatee, introducing a 102-year-old environmentalist named Coconut Grove and a manatee saddled with one of Barry's favorite monikers, Booger. Carl Hiaasen closes down the party, and in between, 11 of Florida's literati, including Elmore Leonard, John Dufresne, and Edna Buchanan, make twisted offerings to the affair: three severed heads, all bearing a remarkable resemblance to Fidel Castro; four murders; some sex; some espionage; even an appearance by Jimmy Carter and one by Castro himself.

Originally published as a serial novel in the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine, Naked Came the Manatee resembles a literary game of telephone, with each writer contributing a chapter and passing it on to the next, who then makes the most of what he or she is given. The result is a novel with wildly fluctuating styles and more crazy plot curves than a daytime drama, but thanks to these 13 masters of the craft this roller coaster of a book is almost as much fun to read as it obviously was to write. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Aside from Hiaasen, this collective effort is authored by a host of South Florida writers?Dave Barry, Les Standiford, Paul Levine, Edna Buchanan, James W. Hall, Carolina Hospital, Evelyn Mayerson, Tananarive Due, Brian Antoni, Vicki Hendricks, John Dufresne, and Elmore Leonard?who joined forces a year ago to write a 13-week serial in the "Tropic" section of the Miami Herald. In Miami, John Deal, Britt Montero, and Jake Lassitor (stock characters of Standiford, Buchanan, and Levine, respectively) join forces to help a 102-year-old environmentalist and her granddaughter investigate a mysterious, hermetically sealed head-sized canister brought up from the depths by Booger, a saintly manatee who roams the coves off Coconut Grove and seems to have a calling to save imperiled creatures. Each chapter of this comic thriller is a gem that builds on the preceding one. Highlights include a parody of Moby Dick ("Call Me Booger...") and a guest appearance by Jimmy Carter in Dufresne's chapter. Many of these writers have a built-in readership, and all proceeds go to charity. Highly recommended.
-?Laurel Wilson, Alexandrian P.L., Mount Vernon, Ind.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st Ballantine Books Ed edition (January 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449001245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449001240
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Several years ago an editor for The Miami Herald's Tropic magazine came up with an interesting idea. He contacted several well-known and respected Floridian writers to participate in an unusual project. Each one involved would provide a part of a novel written chapter by chapter by a different author. Columnist Dave Barry began the novel by introducing us to a manatee named Booger, and then another author would continue the story. Carl Hiaasen had the daunting task of taking all the loose ends provided by all the participants and creating a plausible conclusion to the story. This project has not been seen in several decades since Agatha Christie and other mystery writers worked on a similar type of storytelling.
During the last few years groups of authors have worked on similar projects like this and given their profits to charities. The problem is that some of these writers are not interested in writing a good story but finding a way to trip up the writer that is supposed to continue the plot. The only thing those authors share in common is the genre that they write. NAKED CAME THE MANATEE is better by the connection this particular group of people shares.
Most of the authors who worked on this book have lived in Florida for a long time. They know the area, its people and its customs and implement them in the story line. Some of the authors, such as Elmore Leonard, Dave Barry, and Carl Hiaasen, are funny in their own right that is perfect for this story. These authors know how to write a funny story and they can get away with it in this book. As a special treat for some of the book's readers is that some of the writers include their series characters in this novel. Among those making an appearance are Lee Standisford's John Deal and Edna Buchanan's Britt Montero.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Williamson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 22, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imagine a book in which Dave Barry writes the first chapter, then twelve other very authors skilled authors have to write a chapter. Each author has to pick up the plot where the previous author left off. Naked Came the Manatee is hilarious, and it's the type of humorous thriller that could only take place in a state where the electric chair is named 'Old Sparky' which happens to be quite fitting. The title is a reference to the literary hoax Naked Came the Stranger (1970), by Penelope Ashe, which makes it doubly-humorous in context.

This witty book was originally the conception of Tom Shroder when he was the editor of the Miami Herald's 'Tropic' magazine, and appeared there in serial form before it became this book. The authors of the different chapters are:

1. Dave Barry
2. Les Standiford
3. Paul Levine
4. Edna Buchanan
5. James W. Hall
6. Carolina Hospital
7. Evelyn Mayerson
8. Tananarive Due
9. Brian Antoni
10. Vicki Hendricks
11. John Dufresne
12. Elmore Leonard
13. Carl Hiaasen

Many of these authors are personal favorites of this displaced Floridian, but one small footnote regarding Florida's electric chair named 'Old Sparky' should be mentioned. Elmore Leonard, who wrote a chapter here, also wrote an ill-fated TV series called "Maximum Bob" which ran for seven segments during 1998, and starred Beau Bridges as an ultra right-wing judge who loved sentencing criminals to a visit with 'Old Sparky.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George Webster, Ph.D., VINE VOICE on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was bound to happen. Only in Miami (well, maybe in Los Angeles also) could a group of writers take turns doing a nutty story and have it sound like events you'd read in the Miami Herald. Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard and ten other south Florida authors each contribute a chapter to a story of theft, kidnaping, and murder in a plot to overthrow Fidel Castro, and Castro's moves to thwart it. Tourists, gangsters, environmentalists, reporters, and lawyers populate the story, but weaving through it all is a huge, affectionate manatee named Booger. The story comes back to Booger again and again, and when Booger is finally happy, we know the story has reached its fitting end. The book is whimsical and tremendously funny. It's well worth reading.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Naked Came the Manatee" is a group collaboration by 13 Florida authors (originally serialized in 'The Miami Herald Tropic'), where one writer produces a chapter, then passes it on to the next writer so s/he can do the same. Dave Barry starts it off with the first chapter (comically entitled "Booger"), then Les Standiford takes on the next one, followed by the 11 other mystery writers: Paul Levine, Edna Buchanan, James W. Hall, Carolina Hospital, Evelyn Mayerson, Tananarive Due, Brian Antoni, Vicki Hendricks, John Dufresne, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen.
Basically, "Naked Came the Manatee" is about a decapitated head--Fidel Castro's, to be exact--that's found in a metal canister floating in the water. From there, about half a dozen main characters (though only two stick out in my mind a day later: a 102-year-old woman and a manatee named Booger) are either trying to solve the mystery or just trying to stay alive--or both.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book when I bought it, even though a librarian recommended it to me. The idea of collaborative writing didn't seem like a good idea, especially with so many writers battling for the helm of the story. I noticed a few authors even backtracked to cover up other author's plot holes or mistakes, even added a few unnecessary characters. The result is kind of a mess. It doesn't have very smooth chapter transitions, and felt more like a collage rather than a work of art. The Florida setting was descriptive, yet at the same time very unflattering (didn't make me want to visit, especially after reading Brian Antoni's chapter).
The one good thing about "Naked Came the Manatee," though, is that it's short (approximately 200 pages), which makes for light reading. Still, this isn't one I'd necessarily recommend, unless you're a fan of one or more of the authors mentioned above.
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