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Once a hotshot investigative reporter, Jack Tagger now bangs out obituaries for a South Florida daily, "plotting to resurrect my career by yoking my byline to some famous stiff." Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dead in a fishy-smelling scuba "accident" may be just the stiff Jack needs-if only he can figure out what happened. Standing in the way are [among others] an editor who wants Jack to "break her cherry," Stoma's ambitious pop-singer widow, and the soulless, profit-hungry ...
Once a hotshot investigative reporter, Jack Tagger now bangs out obituaries for a South Florida daily, "plotting to resurrect my career by yoking my byline to some famous stiff." Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dead in a fishy-smelling scuba "accident" may be just the stiff Jack needs-if only he can figure out what happened. Standing in the way are [among others] an editor who wants Jack to "break her cherry," Stoma's ambitious pop-singer widow, and the soulless, profit-hungry newspaper owner Jack once publicly humiliated. As clues from Stoma's music give Jack Tagger the chance to trade obits for a story that could hit the front page, murder gives his career a new lease on life.
“Fresh and juicy. . . A sunny delight.”
“As delicious as ever. . . [Hiaasen is] a master of the comic crime novel.”
“Hiaasen delivers a culpable caper that’s a pleasurable hit.”
“A riot. . . It’s one thing to be twisted and funny. It’s quite another to manage twisted, funny, and serious. . . . Hiaasen consistently juggles the heavy with the light.”
“Frisky. . . . The real music here is Mr. Hiaasen’s self-assured banter.”
—The New York Times
“Riled, righteous, and rip-roaring funny. . . Hiaasen’s novels ought to bear the warning label: may be hazardous to your sides. They may split.”
—New York Newsday
“[Hiaasen] is head and shoulders above the rest. . . . Straight crime fiction with a biting, satiric edge, and it proves what his hardcore fans have known for a long time—he is, at heart, simply a great storyteller and a better writer.”
—Charleston Post and Courier
“Great good fun. . . Basket Case is typical Hiaasen. In other words, it’s wildly hyperbolic, with lots of digs at South Florida's zany lifestyle and (in this case) a total smearing of corporate journalism.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted January 22, 2002
Like many Nelson DeMille novels, Carl Hiaasen writes his 'Basket Case' from the first person viewpoint. And like many of DeMille's protagonists, obit writer Jack Tagger tells us the story with a smart-assed dialogue. Dead is James Bradley Stomarti, also know as, Jimmy Stoma. You know. The Jimmy Stoma, lead singer in his band, Jimmy and the Slut Puppies. The Slut Puppies were famous for the hit single 'Basket Case' from the 'Floating Hospice' album. That Jimmy Stoma. Anyway, to bring you up to date, he died. It seems that Jimmy was a regular rocker too. Like many of his peers he was into alcohol, drugs, and had a rap sheet longer than his Fender guitar. He'd been arrested on a regular basis for such things as; indecent exposure, (he was caught wearing a rubber Pat Robinson mask and a day-glow condom), he crashed his SeaDoo in to the SS Norway, gets popped for whizzing on Englebert Humperdink's limo, got busted for stealing a bundt cake, you name it. All in all, this makes for a very interesting and 'obit worthy' character. According to Jack Tagger, anyway. Jimmy's death may not have been an accident, and so the mystery begins. Jack, the obit writer, has his suspicions. While Jack's editor, Emma, has the 'hots' for Jack. This is where the sexual tension weaves its way into the storyline. I mention Emma because Carl Hiaasen is a master of great dialogue and great characterization. Taggar describes Emma: 'Emma has the bearing of an exotic falcon.' Those eight words told me everything that I needed to know about Emma. This one is five stars and highly recommended. I know you will enjoy 'Basket Case' as much as I did.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 1, 2013
Hiaasen weaves a complex yarn and mystery with the sprinkling of a multitude of diverse low-life South Floridian skirt/dope/land/buck chasers -- all resulting in a mix of horrific and humorous results for the reader looking for "the real hero" of the story. Read all his works!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2012
Posted September 23, 2011
This is my first experience of a Carl Hiaasen book. My husband read it before I did, and he was rolling about with laughter every time he picked it up. On his suggestion, I gave Basket Case a try, and was soon caught up in the antics of the lead character. Jack Tagger is a journalist whose career has seen better days, but due to a faux pas in his past, he is now writing obituaries for a local Florida newspaper. When a famous rock singer is killed in a scuba diving accident, he begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, which does not please his bosses. He uncovers a complicated and confusing trail of events, which take him to the Caribbean and California in his quest for a front page story to revive his flagging career. Finding the truth about the death of the victim tests his journalistic skills to the limit, and he has to overcome many obstacles to reach the truth. We meet the family and friends of Jimmy Stoma, the dead singer in question, and the members of his old band the Slut Puppies. His widow is a singer, who is planning to revive her career with a new song. His sister disappears after her house is broken into, and there are other deaths to explain along the way. Jack is at loggerheads with his immediate boss, Emma, who wants him to write an obituary on a dead rabbi and leave the pop star story alone, but he continues to delve and he eventually gets to write the front page story that he has been looking for. He now hopes that his time in the doldrums of newspaper journalism is over, and his career will hit the heights he has been working towards. Fast paced, funny, and entertaining.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2011
Posted October 2, 2006
I am slowly chipping away at Mr. Hiaasen's books. Read Tourist Season, Skin Tight and Skinny Dip. So far, Basket case was my favorite. Absolutely loved Jack. Sure, the storyline was predictable but loved the dialogue and the different scenarios that Jack and his friends found himself in. From the time I started reading, I absolutely could not put down and read in one whole day. Looking forward to reading the others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2006
Posted November 6, 2003
Posted May 12, 2003
This is my first Hiaasen book and I loved it! The dialouge between characters is great. The main character - Jack Tagger - would be someone I would love to hang out with. The book moves very vast and is a very enjoyable read. The ending gets a little typical - everything turns out so perfect. That is not the ending I expected from such an intersting and different first part.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2003
This is the second of Carl's novels that I've read. The first, Sick Puppy, made me laugh til I cried, and Basket Case had a few of those moments as well. I love Jack. He's the kind of person I'll probably turn into- bitter, obessed, hopeful. I would have given this review 5 stars. However- the epilogue did me in. I was very disappointed in Carl tieing all the loose ends up in a pretty little bow. Either write it into the book or leave us wondering.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2003
Posted November 1, 2002
Another great Carl Hiaasen read. It has a little something of everything I enjoy¿especially rock stars. It¿s funny and enjoyable and, as always, Hiaasen¿s characters are well thought out and true-to-life (well, except for the really over-the-top ones, but you find them in real life, too). You¿ll follow along with Jack Tagger (an obituary writer) as he investigates the events leading up to the death of a once prominent rock star. The neat thing about this book is Hiaasen¿s usage of actual lyrics written by Warren Zevon for the song ¿Basket Case¿ (which made Jimmy Stoma, our dead rock star a, well ROCK STAR). Enjoyable and funny.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2002
Basket Case has more lighthearted dark humor in it than I have ever seen before in one book. Most people who use dark humor seem to have a heavy load on their souls, which weighs down the humor as well. Mr. Hiaasen writes in this book with the lightness of a French champagne bubble. The dark humor becomes like a butterfly net that captures our attention rather than a black spot that blights our existence. What makes the humor so much more appealing is that he draws on real incidents to help draw the comic portraits of his characters. Mr. Hiaasen doesn¿t have a high opinion of music industry wannabes, druggies, cultural destroying tycoons. At the same time, he has an appreciation for journalism (since he is a journalist, should that surprise you?), good writing, and investigative reporting. Since his views match mine pretty well and I like crime comedy, Basket Case was a book that had to enjoy. Sure enough, I found myself staying up past midnight to finish it. What makes the book amount to more than the usual well-written comic novel is that Mr. Hiaasen has a fine ironic sense that he employs to make the plot much more delicious. Why, then, didn¿t I think this was a five-star book? Basket Case is a triumph of style over substance. All of this talent should have been aimed at a larger target. Mr. Hiaasen could have told us a story that would have informed us more about our own lives than this ones does. He shows the danger of being stalled in our thinking, holds out hope that goodness will prevail, and that phoniness will be punished, but the story is too remote from our own lives to allow the stinging irony to take effect on our minds and souls. Enjoy a good laugh! I did come away with a strong desire to have Mr. Hiaasen has a friend. He seems like a great human being. I hope you like him, too. Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth EnterpriseWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2002
Posted January 1, 2002
Another high five to Hiaasen for his ninth and latest Florida based thriller, 'Basket Case.' Popular novelist and columnist for the Miami Herald, this prolific author has been garnering fans since his debut novel, 'Tourist Season' (1986) through Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, etc. He lives up to his file of praise press with this hilarious and highly entertaining take on a down-on-his-luck investigative reporter. Forty-six-year-old Jack Tagger has been reduced to penning obits for a South Florida paper under the watchful eyes of his editor 'the impossible Emma.' Ever hopeful, Jack is wishing for a hot story to revive his standstill career. It may be his lucky day when he notes the death of James Bradley Stomarti. Bells don't ring but cogs slip into place, when after a few clicks of his computer, he discovers that the recently departed is known to many as Jimmy Stoma, lead singer for Jimmy and the Slut Puppies. Seems that Jimmy went to his reward via a diving accident. Jack doesn't think so. He's off to discover the truth. Truth is a hard to come by commodity without the blessings of his editor, to say nothing of the blocks put up by Jimmy's non-grieving widow and the greedy, aggrieved owner of the newspaper whom Jack once had the poor judgment to insult in public. As always, Hiiasen takes readers on a merry chase and full throttle ride to a fantastic finish.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Though he knew better than to harangue the owner of the Union-Register, investigative reporter Jack Tagger still ripped him in front of shareholders. Thus, the forty-six year old journalist now works the obituary column. When Jack learns that James Bradley Stomarti died in a drowning accident in the Bahamas, he thinks he has a story worth more than the twelve inches his editor Emma wants to give to the deceased rabbi. Stomarti was better known as punk rocker Jimmy Stoma, lead singer of the once popular Slut Puppies. Emma never heard of the has-been or his group, but reluctantly allows Jack to investigate the death just in case. <P>Jack calls James¿ sister who sends him to the spouse of the deceased, Cleo Rio. Her tale is inconsistent viz a viz the sibling¿s story leading Jack to question whether a murder occurred. As he digs deeper, attempts are made on Jack¿s life, but if he is to escape the ¿mortuary¿ he knows he must risk becoming an obit entry by continuing his inquiries. <P>Though not quite as crazy as some of his previous Florida mysteries BASKET CASE is a satirical tale that pokes fun at the newspaper industry through Jack¿s first person account. Jack sees life as whimsical, which enables him to torture the serious Emma even if he believes she will either sleep with him, fire his butt, or both. The investigation is humorous, crazy, but engaging as Carl Hiaasen sans Skink furnishes his fans with a wild whimsical winner. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2013
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Posted February 1, 2011
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Posted August 20, 2011
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Posted May 18, 2011
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