BAD MONKEY - Carl Hiaasen
Having been somewhat underwhelmed by most Hiaasen books up until this point, I suspect I picked up BAD MONKEY due to sheer perverseness on my part. I'd heard a few comments that were less than complimentary from readers that I know have loved those earlier books that have mostly ended up in my could not finish pile.
There's always been an over the top feeling to these books, and a tendency for one of those senses of humour that insists on telling the joke, and then explaining the joke, that must be an acquired taste. But humour is an extremely subjective thing and you have to give any author that uses it with a sledgehammer effect points for bravery... or their own particular perverseness of course.
Whilst there are aspects of BAD MONKEY that are a bit out there (arms in freezers after all), it wasn't overplayed or constantly waved around under your nose (pun only marginally intended). Which actually made the whole joke funnier, subtle, considerably less stomach churning than you'd think. Along with the problems of a cop turned Health Inspector that can never eat out in his own neighbourhood ever again. Andrew Yancy was a character that I could find a connection with. Much of what happens to Yancy (either as a result of circumstances or because he's poking around in places where even cockroaches would not dare to go), is funny. His ongoing wars with his idiot next door neighbour had me laughing, a Monkey with an attitude had me smiling.
Leaving aside the lack of overtly and over the top gruesomeness, there was more than enough to keep me reading here. What with scams, odd activities with vacuum cleaners, Bad Monkey's, a Voodoo Dragon Queen, girlfriends and enough dodgy attitudes to make anybody with any interest in Political Correctness curl up in a corner and sob, there's not many dull moments in BAD MONKEY. These aren't going to be books for every reader, but given the affection with which this series is held, I'm really relieved to have finally found one that I could finish, and did enjoy.
Andrew Yancy--late of the Miami Police, soon-to-be-late of the Key West Police--has a human arm in his freezer. There's a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, his commander might relieve him of Health Inspector duties, aka Roach Patrol. But first Yancy will negotiate an ever-surprising course of events--from the Keys to Miami to a Bahamian out island--with a crew of equally ever-surprising characters, including: the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; an avariciously idiotic real estate developer; a voodoo witch whose lovers are blinded-unto-death by her particularly peculiar charms; Yancy's new love, a kinky medical examiner; and the eponymous Bad Monkey, who earns his place among Hiaasen's greatest characters with hilariously wicked aplomb.