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Skinny Dip
Carl Hiaasen
Grand Central Publishing 2006
552 pages paperback


Skinny Dip is your typical Carl Hiaasen funny mystery novel. It features a comic if convoluted plot. There is a bad guy who is also doing some kind of harm to the Everglades and getting duly punished. There is an interesting woman involved in the story. The good guy, Mick Stranahan who appeared previously in Skin Tight, is an odd duck who has retired as much as possible from society. There is of course Hiaasen’ s trademark Hiaasen somewhat deranged dog. Skinny Dip Kindle version: Skinny Dip (Skink Book 5)

Skinny Dip is not a book you read if you are in a sleuthing mood. Carl Hiaasen is not a noir writer but a black comedy mystery writer. The fun comes from the absurd situations, some madcap events, and some over the top developments such as a woman telling the bad guy, “It’s bad enough you’re pointing a guy at me but that (an erection) too?”

Chaz and his wife Joey are on an anniversary cruise. He tosses her overboard. Joey is rescued by beach bum ex-cop Mick Stranahan who lives on his own island with a rather dysfunctional black lab. Joey decides to get even with Chaz by driving him nuts and enlists Mick’s help. Her plan also involves finding out exactly why Chaz killed her in the first place.

Enter a hairy goon named Tool with more problems than a math book, Chaz s boss, a rich industrialist despoiling the environment, and a determined cop out to prove Chaz killed his wife. Add also two snakes, dogs disappearing from a condo, and the one-eyed Everglades recluse known as the Captain in a cameo.

Skinny Dip is a fun enough lightweight read but it is also a bit too long. Hiaasen and his characters spin their wheels a few times so it takes a bit of an effort to get to the end and you do skip a few paragraphs here and there.

If you like Hiaasen, you are going to like his tenth comic mystery. This is not however his best effort. If you like Carl Hiaasen, you are going to like Tim Dorsey , Victor Gishler,  or Lawrence Shames