Grand Central Publishing 2011
352 pages paperback
If Star Island was not written by Carl Hiaasen few would bother plowing through it. Even Hiaasen fans will find it hard to motivate themselves to finish it. This comic mystery features the usual Hiaasen recipe: an unusual story, a wild and weird bad guy who has something wrong with his arm, an over the top main character, and the Captain / Skink. Kindle version
What Star Island does not have is a plot and main character that warrant 352 pages so both overstay their absent welcome.
Star Island stars teen idol singer Cherry Pye who, like Britney Spears is artificially manufactured and cannot sing her way out of a paper bag. Pye has gone Lohan and her entourage is doing everything they can to keep her out of trouble until the new album is released and the tour begins otherwise the financial ride is over.
Because Cherry Pye is so wild, her parents and her producer have hired lookalike actress named Annie. A paparazzo kidnaps Annie and discovers the whole story. He then blackmails the Pye entourage into some pictures in exchange for a more or less hostage Annie.
Somewhere in there is Cherry Pye’s new no-nonsense bodyguard Chemo who has a weedwacker for a left hand. There is also a tertiary story involving a crooked condo builder and ex-Governor Tyree, a recurring character.
Hiaasen’s comic mysteries usually have a caustic tone and social commentary. Wacked out starlets is too soft a target and nobody’s hear is really in it in Star Island.
Even for Hiaasen fans this one is a pass unless you can find it used or remaindered cheap and are a completist. If you like Carl Hiaasen, you are going to like Tim Dorsey or Lawrence Shames