BAD MONKEY


By Carl Hiaasen

Alfred A. Knopf, June, 2013 ($26.95)

ISBN-13: 978-0-307-27259-1

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Andew Yancy loves his job with the Monroe County Sherriff's Department, and he's hating being sidelined. Just because he defended his girlfriend's honor by using a mechanized appliance on the man who insulted her — who happened to be a wealthy physician as well as her husband — his boss took him off the job to cool off.

Instead, he just keeps getting hotter. The idyllic view of sand, water, flora and fauna from his island home is being spoiled by an oversize monstrosity going up next door. He amuses himself by coming up with ways to thwart the owner's attempt to sell the place. Andrew can be a standup guy, but one does not want to get on his bad side.

Sheriff Sunny Summers is a good ol' boy, but also a sharp lawman. Yancy's act against the doctor was not a simple prank. He was lucky not to be in jail, because his victim was too embarrassed to press charges. The sheriff gives Yancy the chance to go back to work as a restaurant inspector. Not too glamorous, but hey, it's a job. After seeing the conditions at the eateries he has to inspect, he starts losing his appetite, and the reader will too.

While he's writing up restaurant owners for slime in the ice machine and rodent in the pantry, he's longing to work on a murder case in which only the victim's arm has been recovered. Being Yancy, he decides he's not going to let a little thing like not being on the force and being told explicitly to stay away from the case stop him. He enlists the aid of a sexy pathologist, and they are soon on a grand adventure that will take them all around the Florida Keys and to the Bahamas, They encounter danger, unlikely allies, a voodoo queen, and for good measure, a hurricane along the way to solving the case of the Misleading Arm.

The bad monkey of the title is a pathetic critter who had a role in one of Johnny Depp's pirate movies, until his bad behavior got him fired and passed on to a series of less and less savory owners. He ends up in the Bahamas as the companion to Neville, a native islander who's fighting a losing battle to regain his family land, which has been sold to a speculator with the idea of turning it into a five star resort. Neville's and Yancy's paths cross on the island, to the benefit of both.

This is a typical Hiassen novel, full of over-the-top characters, laughs, groans, lots of Floridian flavor, and a rollicking good story. Read it, you'll like it.

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