April 8, 2015 by Ray Yanek
My kids and I are on Spring Break this week and my daughter’s travel softball season is underway despite sub-par temperatures. So is my son’s spring soccer season. I’ve been trying to get a jump on yard work and my garden. I may or may not (depending on who’s reading this at the moment) have slipped in a few beers here and there. I’ve cooked a bit. I’ve managed a few runs and workouts. It’s been fun, but hectic, and I haven’t been working hard enough to find the time for writing and checking in on the blog.
Kind of figured that would happen, but I’m hoping to still salvage the rest of the week and get back on track.
I did start a post a day or two ago and just got around to finishing it. It was simply a little talk about the books I read in March.
So here we go…
Maybe it was the ‘blahs’ brought on by the dregs of the month, or the pissy-ness caused by a winter that wouldn’t let go, but I unitentionally went the comedy route for my March novel choices. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy novels that make me laugh out-loud, or at the very least put a smile on my face.
Sometimes I forget how much I like writing stuff like that too.
Anyway, here are the books I managed to fit during the month of March.
Bad Monkey — Carl Hiassen
I was introduced to South Florida crime novelist and newspaper columnist Carl Hiassen way back in the days when Jimmy Buffett was all I listened too. Buffett and Hiassen are fishing buddies; Buffett wrote a few songs based on Hiassen’s characters; and the two have collaborated to bring Hiassen’s pro-environmental YA novel Hoot to the big screen.
Hiassen’s south Florida is a land full of corrupt politicians, swindlers, hit men, and crooked land developers. There are also fishermen and sailors, detectives and other assorted lunatics who try to right the balance between right and wrong by employing questionable, but often hilarious methods. Hiassen’s satire of South Florida “business as usual” is scathing, and his love for Florida’s natural habitat unparreled. But most importantly, the stories will reel you in and the laughs keep coming.
If would need a course in how to write effectice comedy–Hiassen is the guy for you.
Bad Monkey begins with a tourist James Mayberry and wife fishing from a charter boat off of Key West. The book begins:
“On the hottest day of July trolling in dead calm waters near Key West, a tourist named James Mayberry reeled up a human arm. His wife flew to to the bow of the boat and tossed her breakfast burritos.” The hand of the arm, they find “was contracted into a fist except for a middle digit, which was rigidly extended.”
When it’s later found that the arm belongs to a man who scammed Medicare out of millions of dollars by selling fake Hover-Rounds to Florida’s elderly population, disgraced detective Andrew Yancy suspects murder. The problem is that Yancy no longer has his detective badge and has been demoted to restaurant inspector because of a rather unfortunate incident involving a vacuum hose, the anus of a man whom called his wife a whore for sleeping with Yancy, and a lot of tourist cameras and cellphones.
If Yancy solves the mystery of the arm, he believes they’ll give him his badge back and that he might even be able to do something about that rich bastard building the house next store to his that is breaking code and blocking his view of the sunset.
There are sub-plots galore in the novel and, as is typical of Hiassen, a colorful cast of characters including a Bahamian voodoo queen, the monkey who suppossedly starred in those Johnny Depp pirate movies, and a Miami coroner turned love interest for Yancy.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams.
And I don’t know that the Hitchhiker’s Guide did much to change that.
I really enjoyed Arthur Dent and the opening to the book where he wanders through his house hung-over as hell and catching glimpses of bulldozers outside was spectacular. Ford Prefect was instantly likable and I did love the when the focus was on these two characters
I sort of lost my connection with the book though, when it came to Beeblebrox. It was hard for some reason to keep my disbelief suspended. I also snapped out of the story with the numerous authorial intrusions.
To give credit where credit is due, I did chuckle quite a few times throughout the book and part of my disconnect may have come from a rather disjointed reading on my part. Towards the end, when I wasn’t taking as many breaks from the book, I did find myself enjoying it more and slipping into the world.
Maybe even enough to give the second installment a chance…
What do you think? Is The Resteraunt at the End of the Galaxy worth reading?