Bad Monkey

[Amazon Link]

I came a little late to Carl Hiaasen fandom, but since then I've been a loyal reader. I just no longer buy the hardcovers on publication day. In fact, I picked this up from our local Barnes&Noble remainder display and saved a couple bucks over both paperback and Kindle editions.

Things kick off when a tourist on a fishing expedition off the Florida coast reels in a grisly discovery: a human arm, middle finger outstretched. Local law enforcement treats it like a hot potato: nobody wants to deal with this obvious unfortunate accident. Disgraced ex-cop Andrew Yates is tasked with passing off the arm to someone, anyone, who'll take it off his hands.

Andrew is your typical flawed Hiaasen hero: honest, but quick-tempered with poor impulse control. He's been demoted to restaurant-inspection duty because—see if you can follow this—the husband of the woman Andrew had been involved insulted her honor, and Andrew sodomized him with a vacuum cleaner in front of a few hundred witnesses.

Anyway, Andrew sees the arm as a possible tool to get his job back. (Restaurant inspection is a dreadful, disgusting job as paragraphs of Hiaasenian prose make clear.) Identifying the person to which the arm used to be attached is pretty easy. The widow, however, is suspiciously non-grieving. Then people start dying. Of course, not all is as it seems.

Oh yeah: there's a monkey. And he's not well-behaved. It turns out that show-biz (Pirates of the Caribbean, specifically) can burn out animals the same way it does humans.

Not a bad read, but I found myself bemused at the pacing. There's a big climactic showdown/rescue/revelation … and then the book goes on for eighty more pages.