His latest effort Star Island (2010) is unbelievable. I say that, not in the sense of “unbelievably good” , although there is nothing really wrong with the novel. I bring unbelief to the table becasue the cast of characters that Hiaasen has assembled are truly his oddest, most outlandish and unbelievable yet.
And yet Hiaasen weaves them all together so well and with such elan that you willingly suspend any sense of disbelief.
I don’t like to recount the story in a review. I think it’s a lazy technique and just fills up the word count. In the case of Star Island the story is SO convoluted that it would take too long to set it up in any way that made sense.
A few of the characters are worth describing (SPOILER ALERT) and will give you some idea of what I mean by unbelievable.
The one-eyed former governor of Florida who lives in swamps, decorates his hair with shotgun shells and has a murderously bad attitude toward land developers.
A bodyguard who towers above everyone, has a wig in a color not found in nature, and a high-powered weed wacker replacing his right hand. He also has a murderously bad attitude, towards everyone.
A twin pair of celebrity “handlers” who have total head to toe plastic surgery done to enhance their “twiness” and rule their young charge with Machiavellian firmness.
And the aforementioned young charge, a Britney Spears wanna be with less (unbelievable again, but true) talent and a serious cross addiction.
About the young charge, “Cherry Pie” gives us this memorable quote: “A quick puke, two rails of blow and she was solid.” this after she ingested “an unwise mix of vodka, Red Bull, hydrocodone, birdseed, and stool softener.” There you go.
The Star Island in the title is Hiaasen’s usual interjection of environmental concern, done in this case in such a slapstick way (His punishment for the evil land developer is particularly…grizzly) that it’s not at all preachy.
It’s not serious literature. It certainly won’t change the world. Buy it is a fun read and shows that Carl Hiaasen has not missed a step in the four years between books.