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Tourist Season Paperback – May 9, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When the president of the Miami Chamber of Commerce is found dead inside a suitcase with his legs sawn off and a rubber alligator stuffed down his throat, news and police locals prefer to believe it's simply another typical South Florida crime. But when letters from a terrorist group, Las Noches de Diciembre, link the man's death to the disappearances of a visiting Shriner and a Canadian tourist, former newsman (now private eye) Brian Keyes intuits that someone is out to kill Florida's tourist trade. His investigation leads him to an old journalism crony obsessed with fury against the state's irresponsible development policies. Miami Herald columnist Hiaasen writes with a seriousness of intent and knack for characterization which, unfortunately, outstrip his comic talents. This is an auspicious solo debut for the serious Hiaasen (he has written three thrillers with William Montalbano), but a lukewarm one for him as a potential comic-absurdist. (March 24p
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A dark, funny book full of irony and spice. I loved it!"-- Robert B. Parker --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446695718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446695718
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,389 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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Beau Yarbrough VINE VOICE on February 27, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been reading Carl Hiassen's work for years, having jumped in around the middle, with "Native Tongue," "Skin Tight" and "Striptease." I've more recently been working my way through the rest of his catalog, including "Stormy Weather" and "Double Whammy," with his two latest books in hardback waiting on my to-be-read shelf.
But years after the liner notes for a Jimmy Buffett song ("The Ballad of Skip Wiley and Skeet" off his "Barometer Soup" album) made me go look for this Hiassen's guy's works in a book store, I'm finally getting around to "Tourist Season," the first novel Hiassen wrote, featuring rogue newspaper columnist Skip Wiley.
It's said that you spend your entire life writing your first novel, as you inevitably put pretty much all the good stuff in that one. Whatever the state of your craft, it's where your ideas, your good bits, your passion all gets poured into. While I've enjoyed other Hiassen books more (notably "Native Tongue" and "Skin Tight"), this certainly seems to be true for "Tourist Season." While all of his books have an overt current of rage directed at developers, destructive big business and endemic corruption, he always makes sure to leaven that with humor, a little zaniness, and some sweetness. Not here.
Sure, there's some amusing bits, a lot of them, really, but Hiassen's subsequent work has never been this dark, his rage never so undiminished. While all of his books barrel towards their climax, this is the first one I've read in which it's hard to see how there could be a happy ending, where the bad guys aren't REALLY bad and where it doesn't all seem like cosmic justice on the last page.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By William Davenport on February 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my first Carl Hiaasen experience. The counter lady at a used book store suggested it (thank you, thank you, thank you) and I've read everyone of Hiaasen's works since then AND I've paid full price so Mr. Hiaasen could be duly compensated for the (unfortunately) short but intense stretches of reading joy he's provided.
And as far as the laughing out loud reference in my review title, too many book jackets promise it but this one delivers! If you're new to Hiaasen I suggest you start here and read chronologically. First you'll see the talent grow and you'll get to know the serial characters as they're introduced.
If you want a good, fast, quirky, funny, sometimes hilarious read, where the bad guys get what's coming to them---sometimes in the most bizzare ways---then begin at the beginning and carry on through to the most recent Hiaasen offering, Sick Puppy (although you could skip Lucky You and not miss much).
Have fun!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hiaasen is a GENIUS! Tourist Season was my first Hiassen book, and it was a beautiful start to my Hiassen reading rage. Since Tourist Season, I've read 3 more by C.H., and I'm not done yet.
Carl Hiaasen's style has always surprised me. Each one of his stories begins with what seems like many many separate, totally independent stories. Somehow, within a few hundred pages, each one of those stories become closely tied with every other one.
Tourist Season had me laughing hysterically, more than any other Hiaasen book I think. Being a South Floridian, I've also traveled to most of the places described in this and other books. I find his depiction of the South Florida ecosystems splendid. Tourist Season especially evokes a genuine concern for the loss of Florida's natural land, and the final scene in the book is simply heart-wrenching.
The perfect dose of humor coupled with a great look into natural Florida, away from Disney World and South Beach, I recommend Tourist Season to everyone, anywhere in the US. Definitely a good book to buy and keep forever.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark Albert on February 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tourist Season has a gripping plot and Carl Hiaasen has a wicked sense of humor, but this is his first novel and it shows.

Hiaasen's Sick Puppy was strongly recommended to me, but a copy of Tourist Season was at hand when I was looking for something to read, so this book became my first exposure to this author. Once I started reading, the plot kept me engaged, but I repeatedly found myself wishing I had waited to get hold of the other book.

My problem with this book was the prose. The plot and the humor kept me reading, but the words kept getting in the way. The dialog isn't bad, but the descriptions are awkward, and the corny names of the characters sound like something out of a 1940's B movie. Throughout the book, he refers to his characters by their full names. You can find the name Brian Keyes three or four times in a single page. This gets annoying after a while.

Despite the flaws, however, I recommend this book, but I would read something else by Carl Hiaasen first. Once you establish a relationship with the author, you will probably want to where young Carl got his start.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The classic Carl Hiassen right here. You might not like the subject matter of this book if you're not a native Floridian, but it's a great work of fiction anyway. If you liked any of his other books, this one is for you!
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