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As a native of South Florida (and really far south--close to Homestead, which is almost to the Keys), I have eagerly consumed everything that Carl Hiaasen has written.  But I haven't thought his last few books were as good as previous ones, by a long shot, and so I didn't jump to get Bad Monkey as quickly as I normally would have.  Finally, a friend of mine said that this one was a lot closer to the earlier books and she's right.  It was a very fun read.

 

The story follows Yancy, a demoted Key West detective now performing the truly gross and thankless task of restaurant inspector in the Florida Keys, as he manages to get involved in the investigation of the presumed death of a man whose severed arm was hooked by some tourists on a charter fishing trip in the Keys.  Yancy is also tormenting his next-door neighbor, who clearly deserves it for building a code-violating McMansion on his property, thereby interfering with Yancy's ability to view both the sunset and Key deer that used to visit his property.  The action takes place on the Keys, in Miami, and even on Andros Island in the Bahamas and involves an ever-widening cast of characters that at one point became so confusing that I missed that one of them had been murdered.  But it was all good fun, often laugh-out-loud funny, and always entertaining.  I recommend it to anyone.

 

But I particularly recommend it to people like me, for whom almost every place he names is familiar (except in the Bahamas--we never went there on the theory that on vacation, you should go someplace different from home, so we always went to the mountains).  My father taught at the Rosenstiel School at the University of Miami, my little brother was born at Baptist hospital, and I've kayaked along the Shark River, walked along Cape Sable, and gone swimming at Venetian Pool.  But even if those places are not familiar to you, I think you will still find the book very entertaining.

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I love the half a dozen Hiaasen books I've read too, Binker, and I've never set foot in Florida. His work is rather off-putting, in fact, so I might never do so.

 

Does Skink appear in Bad Monkey? That would certainly make it more appealing to me. 

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No, Skink does not appear.  But there are plenty of strange characters.

 

He spends a good amount of time discussing the natural beauty of South Florida and the Bahamas, which might make you more inclined to visit those places, which are beautiful.  I think you have to live there to see what he describes and even then, it's an exaggeration.  Mostly.  

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