Jane and … #3

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Another review – Jane and the Wandering Eye


Basket Case

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We had a good turn out for our meeting, in spite of the nasty weather.  Tea, both in the cup and on the table, was a welcome addition.

One of the things we didn’t do at the meeting was discuss Carl Hiaasen‘s biography, so here goes:

Mr. Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida and is a columnist with The Miami Herald.  About Florida he says “The Sunshine State is a paradise of scandals teeming with drifters, deadbeats, and misfits drawn here by some dark primordial calling like demented trout. And you’d be surprised how many of them decide to run for public office.”

After writing a number of mainstream novels, Hiaasen wrote Hoot, which received the Newbery Honor Award and the 2005 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award.  Hoot was made into a movie, with Jimmy Buffett playing the role of a classroom teacher.  Hiaasen had a small part.

His bestseller Lucky You was adapted to the stage and premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2008.  His novel Strip Tease became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore.

For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in many well-known magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and, most improbably, Gourmet.

Most of our group enjoyed this month’s selection, Basket Case.  One member did have a problem with some of the crassness and decidedly low-brow aspects of the novel.  The rest of us, however, had a rollicking good time. 

If all Florida Mystery Writers are like Carl Hiaasen and they are writing anywhere near the truth about life in Florida, then the Sunshine State is a madcap place indeed. It has been said that “Hiaasen’s Florida is a hive of greedy businessmen, corrupt politicians, dumb blondes, apathetic retirees, intellectually challenged tourists, hard-luck redneck cooters…”  Where else can you find such crazy, wild, mind-boggling characters? Okay, maybe Hollywood.

But I bet that not many people in Hollywood have a monitor lizard in their freezer.

In reading Hiaasen, I was reminded of Janet Evanovich. The mystery isn’t always as important as the people and circumstances that one encounters on the way to finding the bad guy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I read to be entertained and boy, with Basket Case we agreed that we were entertained.  From the interesting and bizarre characters to the ins and outs of the music industry, it was always an hilarious ride.  The mystery was interesting because of not just the how, but the who and the why. 

We did have just a little problem with the ending and last minute fix, but kind of agreed that it had been set up at the beginning, so we shouldn’t have been surprised.

Did I give anything away?

So, yet another author added to my “Must Read” List.  I’m never going to get everything read before I die.

Jane and … #2

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The next review is up – Jane and the Man of the Cloth

Now I’m reading Jane and the Wandering Eye.  To Bath we go!


Jane and… #1

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As part of Austenprose’s Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011, I reviewed the first in Stephanie Barron’s series.  You can either click on the tab above or click here to find it.