Book Review: Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen


Rating: 3 / 5

Andrew Yancy is currently having a rough time.  He has somehow ended up a with a man’s arm in his freezer, and sensing that this could lead to a possible case, decides to dig further into the whereabouts of the man whose arm was found during a honeymoon fishing trip.  Yancy is hoping this will be a big case to get him back on the Miami Police force; after attacking his mistress’s husband in front of hundreds of people, Yancy was demoted from cop to restaurant inspector.  That’s not all that’s going on in his life; the house next door was constructed nine feet higher than the residential building code permits, which blocks Yancy’s view of the water.  Evan Shook, the developer, is looking to bring in a pretty penny for this monstrosity, and Yancy has tasked himself with the job of sabotaging Shook’s efforts.

Hiaasen has pretty much locked up the satirical comedy genre. While wildly absurd, Bad Monkey is comical.  However, like Hiaasen’s past novels, Bad Monkey also seems a bit formulaic, and to really enjoy his novels, you have to suspend belief.  There are numerous twists in the story, each one a little more outrageous than the last, but they help to move the story along.

I do have to say that Hiaasen is great at developing his protagonist.  At first I didn’t care for Yancy, but when he became a restaurant inspector, I really started liking him.  I loved his slowly developed neurosis with cleanliness after he was deployed at his new gig, and the fact that he was willing to go to absurd lengths to keep the house next door from selling. He’s not perfect but you can’t help but root for him.  Overall, Bad Monkey was an entertaining read, but I definitely would have enjoyed it more in the summer time on the beach.

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