Bad Monkey is Carl Hiaasen’s latest novel that came out at the beginning of the summer of 2013. Similarly to many of Hiaasen’s novels, the book is about a rough around the edges detective who desperately wants his job back. He sets out to solve a murder that he really has no business solving. While tracking down the murderer, he observes and is a part of a number of humorous hijinks, and his life and the lives of those around him are put in danger.
Carl Hiaasen grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and has lived in Miami for most of his adult life. For this reason, his books generally take place in the state of Florida and the character of the state plays a big role in his novels. He has been a reporter for the Miami Herald since 1976, which explains why his novels also revolve around crime and the police detectives whom he has solve those crimes. Another theme that runs commonly through his novels are that the environment, specifically the wildlife and the swamps and oceans of Florida, are often exploited, destroyed and need to be protected. I would say that if Christopher Buckley is the master of the dry political comedies then Hiaasen has a corner in the dry detective comedy genre. I definitely enjoy both of these types of novels as they do an excellent job of combining two types of genres and making an intriguing new genre.
This is the second novel that I have read by Carl Hiaasen, the first being Skinny Dip. Another aspect to his novels that I thoroughly enjoy is that they are filled with unique characters and that there is no perfect protagonist. Everyone has their hang-ups and everyone has their ulterior motives. This book, Bad Monkey, is entitled so because there is a very naughty monkey (and, not naughty in the Curious George sense) that is supposedly the monkey from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie but was essentially fired because he was so difficult to work with. Through some coincidence, the monkey plays a somewhat integral part of the story and in a way helps to get the crime solved. The uniqueness of the characters in Hiaasen’s books definitely helps to keep the reader engaged.
In looking into Hiaasen’s body of work, I discovered that Hiaasen has written in a number of genres and been very successful in multiple genres. Aside from his fourteen adult fiction novels, one of which is Strip Tease (no kidding, this novel was turned into a movie entitled Striptease and starred Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds), he has also written five young adult fiction novels, two short stories and five non-fiction books. I am anxious to check out some of the books from the other genres to see how his dry and often times vulgar humor translates.
I don’t know if I prefer this novel to the other Hiaasen novel that I have read, but I do like his writing style and am planning on reading other books by him. The narrator did a great job with all of the different characters and their accents. He kept me very entertained. I would recommend this book to friends whom I know enjoy Grisham style or detective novels but are looking for something a little different and with humor.