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118 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiassen's first book, and one of his strongest
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...
Published on February 27, 2001 by Beau Yarbrough

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A talented writer's first novel
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...
Published on February 14, 2006 by Mark Albert


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118 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiassen's first book, and one of his strongest, February 27, 2001
By 
Beau Yarbrough (Between Disneyland and Las Vegas) - See all my reviews
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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. I won't spoil the ending, but by midway through the book, it's clear that with the heaping handfuls of moral ambiguity mixed in, it's hard to have anything better than a bittersweet ending.
In a nutshell, Miami newspaper columnist Skip Wiley has had enough. Enough of the influx of Yankees to Florida and the concomitant woes of greed, development and reckless destruction of the environment. Especially the latter. When Skip Wiley goes missing, and a new terrorist organization, the Nights of December, starts targeting the tourist industry in South Florida (starting by shoving a rubber alligator down a man's throat and then putting his dead body inside his luggage), Skip's editor calls a former reporter turned private investigator to track him down.
Hiassen almost certainly does not advocate terrorism, murder and kidnap, but the cause is clearly near and dear to him, and he argues the Nights' cause eloquently. That makes their extremism tragic, and the possible endings all troubling.
A solid novel, and one of Hiassen's best. While all of his novels will make you laugh, and keep you turning the pages, anxious to see what the next twist in the roller-coaster ride will be, "Tourist Season" will make you think, too.
Definitely recommended for any of his existent fans, as well as fans of Dave Barry or Elmore Leonard.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe it --- LOL, February 9, 2001
By 
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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've never read Hiaasen before, or even if you have..., March 17, 2003
By A Customer
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, December 18, 1999
By A Customer
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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A talented writer's first novel, February 14, 2006
By 
Mark Albert (Herndon, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kill a tourist, save a swamp, October 2, 2005
Carl Hiaasen exposes the side of Miami that people don't usually hear about. His stories link the words "dark" and "funny" in the most peculiar ways, and this one adds "insanity" and "rebellion" to the mix.

Someone is killing the valuable tourists and citizens of Miami, and a group calling itself "Nights of December" is claiming responsibility. We get an inside view into this deadly but dysfunctional group of misfits, led by a brilliant but deranged tree-hugger type, and made up of a Seminole Indian millionaire, a washed up pro footballer with a drug habit, and a bumbling Cuban reject from another rebel group who likes blowing things up.

Mix this up with the bizarre death of a local political figure, a missing Shriner, and the sacred institutions of the Orange Bowl and Beauty Pageant, and you have the makings of a great dark thriller with humorous twists throughout.

Had I read this one first, I probably would have many more Hiaasen books under my belt, and I would heartily recommend starting your journey through his Miami here.

Amanda Richards, October 3, 2005
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for every Parrothead, September 29, 1999
By A Customer
I thoroughly enjoyed the book on which Buffett's "The Ballad of Skip Wiley" was based.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad stuff happens to tourists in lawless south Florida, November 9, 2003
Carl Hiaasen is the master of the comedic absurd, but here's the thing: if you know a bit about south Florida, where virtually all his inane and hilarious novels are set, you know it's all too possible for this stuff to really happen. I suspect he gets inspiration for the outrageous details in his books from the daily newspaper.
This one starts with a tourist Shriner who disappears while taking a little dip in the quiet ocean. Then a legless city official is found dead, stuffed in a suitcase with a rubber alligator stuck down his throat. More stiffs turn up, and there's a weird (no surprise to Hiaasen's regular readers) theme connecting them.
A fun and funny read, and it heralded the many others that followed this debut of sorts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hiaasen unleashed ... painfully funny!, December 10, 2001
By 
lazza (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) - See all my reviews
Tourist Season is Carl Hiaasen's first novel, a very impressive debut. What really shines through is his bitter satire with a comic touch; very wicked indeed! One also has to be impressed with how the prose and (often crude) langauge flow so well - Tourist Season is an effortless read.
As for the plot, well here things are a bit messy. The story involves a hapless gang of 'revolutionaries' looking to chase out all tourists and snowbirds from south Florida because, well, south Florida was much nicer before all this development stuff started. Caught in action are sleazy Miami city officials, crazy newspaper writers, a beauty queen and, of course, a few tourists who fall victim to these revolutionaries. Actually, this 'mess' is a lot of fun but it does run out of steam towards the end ... by which time I felt tired of Hiaasen's "gee, I hate everyone who moved to south Florida after me!" attitude. Having said this, much of his sarcasm is very well focused.
Bottom line: a delightful, non-stop attack on Miami and the uglier side of Americans. While perhaps some of the humor is too American-centric for folks this side of the Atlantic, all others will find much to enjoy with Tourist Season. Recommended.
(PS - Hiaasen's later works, such as Strip Tease, is even better.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Ironic Delight That Makes Fun of Almost Everyone!, September 28, 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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Tourist Season is a great name for this book. We all know that the snow birds begin to arrive in Florida after Thanksgiving and stay until the snows have melted up north. Mr. Hiaasen adds another unforgettable meaning: It's like "hunting season."

Fed up with the destruction of Florida's natural beauty, plant life and animals, Mr. Hiaasen creates one of the great comic anti-heroes in crime fiction, Skip Wiley, who knows how to wield the public relations baton with skill . . . but with too much zeal, and not enough heart.

Many sections of this book would make outstanding short stories or novellas if separated from the rest of the story. The overall structure of the story is complex, multi-faceted in its purposes and cleverly ironic in its tone and details. Clearly, Mr. Hiaasen worked very hard on this book before publishing it.

The president of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce ends up dead, slathered with sun tan lotion in a suitcase. Tourists also begin to turn up missing. The police decide that it's all unconnected, and not too important. That frustrates those who are doing the killings . . . and they seek to gain more credit for their wrong-doing. What is their purpose? Why, to persuade tourists to leave the state, never to return.

The book develops a number of interesting themes including how terrorists think that the ends justify the means, the situational ethics of the press and reporters, the way the police just want to be left alone . . . even when they aren't succeeding, and how some will be cowed into silence when even the most despicable deeds are done. As usual in a Hiaasen book, the book has lots of examples of corruption, blatant abuse of others for one's own self interest and struggles to do the right thing among the aspiring virtuous.

Normally, I would grade such a fine novel to be a five star effort. Two things prevented me. First, the book really rubs your nose into the tourist killings . . . far too long and in too much depth for my taste. Second, one of the characters has a chance to stop the mayhem and doesn't act. I wasn't pleased with how that transgression played out in the story.

The ending sequence is beautifully done and it's well worth reading the whole book just to enjoy this one section.
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Tourist Season
Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen (Paperback - May 9, 2005)
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