Book Report: Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen (1993)

I paid $1.00 for this book at the annual J book fair last Sunday. I’ve already read it. I like Carl Hiaasen. Perhaps it’s because he doesn’t write series (of which I’m aware), so he has something different going on in each one and can’t just phone in a rehash of previous novels without any forward momentum on recycled characters.

This book starts off too slowly, really, with a hodgepodge of characters with something happening, but little risk or empathy to drive me along. When an out-of-control philandering Congressman goes nuts in a strip club and beats a bachelor attending his bachelor party unconscious, his fixers have to deal with the aftermath: a customer infatuated with a dancer who recognizes the Congressman despite his disguise, a smalltime chiseling lawyer soon-to-be-related to the bachelor by marriage who thinks blackmail, a well-read bouncer who wants to get rich on fraudulent lawsuits, and a stripper who only wants to get her little girl back from her felonious ex-husband, and the ex-husband who wants more pills and a better buzz for more audacious wheelchair theft.

It’s a crime fiction farce of the Hiaasen mold, with the southern Florida landscape to explain the eccentricity and a social message hidden among the shenanigans. Man, 1993. What an innocent time.

As I mentioned, the book starts jumbled and slow, but if you stick with it, you’ll come to enjoy it. Although it’s hopefully excused for its shortcomings by being early in Hiaasen’s career, it’s worth a buck.

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