Book Review: Bad Monkey – by Carl Hiaasen

A few weeks ago we visited Key West, Florida, for the first time. When talking about the trip with friends, someone recommended that I read Bad Monkey, since it’s a hilarious book, and a lot of the action takes place in Key West. I had also heard about the book Squeeze Me by the same author, and word was that it, too, was hilarious.

A hapless former deputy sheriff named Andrew Yancy in Key West is drawn into a murder case. A tourist out on a deep-sea fishing boat had reeled in a human arm, presumably the only remains after a fatal shark attack. But once the coroner in Miami gets a look at the arm, it quickly becomes clear that what looks like a shark attack may well be a murder case. Without official authorization, Yancy decides to solve the case with the help of a whole community of other misfits.

The story is hilarious and sometimes I had to laugh out loud. Hiaasen seems to have intimate knowledge of the souls of the people in southern Florida, the Keys, and the Bahamas. He makes fun of the people and the institutions in the self-deprecating manner of an insider of that world.

Having just spent a long weekend in Key West, I enjoyed references to local places and tourist activities. Bad Monkey was a fun, quick read that entertained me and had me turning the pages. There is a sequel to this book, and Hiaasen wrote many other crime novels, presumably along the same lines, with goofy characters, strange and unlikely events and local idiosyncrasies.

There is not any moral to the story, or any big lesson to learn. Bad Monkey is pure entertainment – that’s all.

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