My Review of Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
I’ve discovered a new author, Carl Hiaasen from Florida who’s day job is newspaper columnist for The Miami Herald. When he’s not putting out weekly columns, he’s writing stories and I had the pleasure of reading Bad Monkey (I picked it because of the name of the story, as well as the cover art).
Bad Monkey is about a Key West police detective, Andrew Yancy, currently suspended until trial due to the unfortunate incident at Mallory Square in front of three hundred witnesses involving Yancy’s girlfriend, Bonnie, her husband, and a 14.4-volt Black and Decker cordless vacuum with a rotating suctorial attachment. While on paid suspension from active police work, he’s asked to deliver to Miami Police Department’s medical examiner’s office and unload on Miami-Dade a severed arm pulled in by a sport fisher and, by doing so, keep his boss, Sheriff Sonny Summers of Monroe County happy. Summers’ exact order, “I’m counting on you not to come back from Miami with that you-know-what.”
Eventually, the attorneys settle out of court but the offer leaves Yancy on reassignment, a term he uses freely but not one that is necessarily truthful, as a restaurant inspector. Inspecting restaurants is disgusting work and takes away any appetite he may have had prior to getting into the roach patrol business. His one remaining connection to his former job is the body part he failed to hand-off and was now residing in his freezer because he didn’t want to tell Summers the arm was still in the Keys and thereby ruining his chance of getting back into the police force.
The arm takes on a life of its own and Yancy is pulled into the investigation of several murders that seem to connect. As a reader I soon came to the conclusion that if it weren’t for bad luck, Yancy would have no luck at all. Add to the story Evan Shook, Yancy’s unwanted neighbor, who is ruining the wildlife and Yancy’s view by building a house larger than building specifications allow; Neville Stafford, a fisherman from Andros island in the Bahamas, and Driggs his pet monkey; and the slightly psychotic now ex-girlfriend (mentioned above) and Yancy’s life cannot be termed boring.
Carl Hiaasen’s writing is concise and humorous and he’s found a great character in Yancy who reminds me of a male version of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. The story kept me reading, laughing, and excited to read another Carl Hiaasen novel.